Champion jockey Damien Oliver capped a memorable day with his victory aboard Sister Madly in the Group Two Salinger Stakes at Flemington giving him a Derby Day treble.
Oliver had earlier won two Group Ones aboard Glass Harmonium in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and Hurtle Myrtle in the Myer Classic (1600m).
His feat was all the more poignant as Saturday was the ninth anniversary of the death of his brother Jason who was killed as a result of a fall in a Perth barrier trial.
“I’m in the nervous nineties, I think it’s 95 (Group One) winners now,” Oliver said after claiming the Myer.
Sent out the $4 favourite for the Salinger, the John Sadler-trained Sister Madly got home by a nose over Rarefied ($15) with Temple Of Boom ($7) a short half-head away third.
“She is very tough. She was out on her feet the last 100 metres and she was really brave to find what was needed to hold them off,” Oliver said.
Oliver said the addition of a new bit for Saturday’s 1200m feature helped the five-year-old mare, who is a half-sister to former superstar Hong Kong sprinter Silent Witness.
“She was going a bit keen this mare and John, Troy Corstens and myself got together and we put a new bit on her,” he said.
“We weren’t really certain it was going to work today and when she came out of the gates she was going a bit keen, but at least I had some control over her because I was a bit of a passenger last start”.
Sister Madly finished second to More Joyous in the Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at her previous start and while she had been racing in great heart, Sadler said he wasn’t confident about her chances in the Salinger.
“She’d shown us signs during the week that she’d had enough,” he said.
“They were strong signs, even her blood (count) wasn’t good.
“We came here just hoping and to be honest, if it hadn’t been for Kevin (Maloney, managing owner) and his wife coming down with their family, I would have thought about pulling the plug.
“Kevin said to me that there was no pressure as far as I was concerned. They paid a million dollars for her mainly as a broodmare and if we can get anything out of her on the racetrack that is a bonus.
“He just said `see how you go with her’.”
Since her purchase at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in June and her transfer to Sadler, Sister Madly has earned $380,000 in stakemoney.
Although three-times Group One placed, she is yet to win at that level.
However, Sadler wants to give her that chance in the Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville next autumn, a race she ran third in in 2010 when trained by Anthony Cummings.