Damien Oliver has partnered Cox Plate contender Vadamos in an important work-out at Moonee Valley and says the French horse could be the X-factor in the weight-for-age championship.
Oliver misses the ride on the Andre Fabre-trained Vadamos having been suspended for reckless riding at Caulfield last week with Hong Kong’s champion jockey Joao Moreira to take the prized mount on Saturday.
Vadamos has been in Melbourne for a little over two weeks and cleared quarantine at Werribee on Saturday.
Oliver said Vadamos was more settled in his work on Monday than when he first partnered him at Werribee last week.
“I think he enjoyed the different track and scenery and he seemed to adapt to Moonee Valley very well,” Oliver said.
“Importantly he got on to his right leg at the right time. He switched legs every time he hit the corner.
“My first work-out on him at Werribee he was a little strong and keen but coming to Moonee Valley, he settled well.
“He’s probably the X-factor.”
The winner of the Group One Prix Du Moulin (1600m) at Chantilly last month, Vadamos is on the third line of betting at $15 with last year’s winner Winx at $2 ahead of Hartnell at $2.80 in what could be a 10-horse field.
Final declarations will be taken on Tuesday.
Vadamos worked over 1500m on Monday, quickening from the 800m mark and running the final 400m in 23.63 seconds.
Oliver said he would be happy to give Moreira any advice if Fabre so wished.
He said the small field and the likelihood of a race that may lack a strong tempo could suit the French horse.
Oliver said while he won’t be in the thick of the action he was in the Vadamos camp.
“I’ll be a bit torn if Vadamos gets up and wins,” Oliver said.
“Having been given the opportunity to ride him, I’ll be cheering for him.”
Although he will miss the Cox Plate, Oliver hopes he can get back by the following Saturday.
His legal counsel lodged an appeal with Victoria’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Monday against the ban after Oliver failed to convince the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board to reduce his sentence.