The Australian Cup has eluded jockey Damien Oliver but he has an undeniable chance to put that right on Fiorente.
Oliver is unbeaten in two race rides on Fiorente having claimed last year’s Melbourne Cup and a first-up win in the Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained import is the $2.05 favourite for his Flemington clash on Saturday with Cox Plate and Australian Guineas winner Shamus Award who sits on the second line of betting at $4.40.
“It’s a perfect track and distance for him at this time up to 2000 metres at weight-for-age at Flemington,” Oliver said.
“He has come on nicely since his first-up win and I expect him to run a big race.”
Oliver has had seven placings in the Australian Cup, including a close second on champion Northerly in 2002, and says Fiorente is as good a chance as he has had going into the race.
Fiorente came up with barrier eight in a field of nine for Saturday’s feature while Shamus Award has drawn barrier four.
Waterhouse is also chasing her first Australian Cup victory.
Shamus Award is one of two three-year-olds in the race after Anthony Cummings decided on a start for last week’s Australian Guineas placegetter Thunder Fantasy.
Thunder Fantasy is the only other runner outside Fiorente and Shamus Award under double figure odds at $8.50.
While Fiorente and Shamus Award appear the standouts, jockey Brad Rawiller is hoping for an upset on Star Rolling who finished a close third to Fiorente last start and is unbeaten in two starts over the track and distance, both last season against his own age as a three-year-old.
“We went terrific the other day and he has come on since,” Rawiller said.
“He was only half a length away from Fiorente the other day. He might be better but I still think we’re going in there as a live chance.”