By Glenn Davis
Damien OIiver has won more than a century of Group 1 races during an illustrious career but a Group 1 Queensland Oaks victory has so far eluded the champion Victorian rider.
However, Oliver will get his chance for his maiden Queensland Oaks win when he partners Victorian Princess Jenni from barrier nine in the 2200-metre classic at Doomben on Saturday.
Oliver is one of an elite group of jockeys to win the “Grand Slam” of Australian racing winning the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper and has ridden more than 100 Group 1’s.
“Oli” as he is affectionally known, is having one of his best seasons for some time and currently is second with 53 wins behind leader Craig Williams on 64 wins in the Victorian jockeys’ premiership.
Princess Jenni arrived by plane from Melbourne overnight and will be out to etch her name in Queensland Oaks history as only the second filly to complete the Australasian Oaks-Queensland Oaks double.
Six fillies have attempted to complete the rare double but only one, the Chris Waller-trained Egg Tart, was successful when she claimed the 2017 Queensland Oaks.
Princess Jenni’s trainer David Brideoake rarely heads north for the winter carnival but is confident of a breakthrough Group 1 win in Queensland.
“I won the (Listed) Ipswich Cup a few years ago with Self Sense and I also sent up Dance With Her who ran second in the (Group 2) Brisbane Cup in 2012,” he said.
Princess Jenni’s win in the Australasian Oaks was Brideoake’s third win at the highest level after claiming the 2008 WATC Derby with Grand Journey and the 2016 The Galaxy with Griante.
Brideoake’s decision to head to Adelaide for the Australasian Oaks was a late call after the daughter of High Chaparral missed the Group 1 Australian Oaks at Randwick when she was a late scratching from the Adrian Knox Stakes at Randwick in April.
“She’s done really well and she even put on a bit of weight after her Oaks win in Adelaide,” Brideoake said.
“She had her main gallop last Friday and another on Tuesday and she flew up late yesterday.
“She showed a lot of grit and determination to win at Caulfield two runs back when she came from back in the field with 60kgs.
“She’s got a lot of class and after the Queensland Oaks I plan to give her a light spring campaign in Melbourne.”
Racing Queensland webnews May 29