Champion jockey Damien Oliver has shown that he is still at the top of his game after timing his race to perfection to win the Cantala Stakes aboard Superstorm, the second stage of a Group 1 double.
Coach Danny O’Brien says Damien Oliver rides as well as ever after riding Superstorm to a narrow victory in a $ 2 million Cantala Stakes cover final, hinting at the evergreen jockey’s 125th success in the squad 1 and his 25th at the Melbourne Cup carnival.
Oliver, 49, achieved a double in Group 1 on Saturday when he clocked his race perfectly on the Superstorm driven by O’Brien, just three races after winning the Empire Rose Stakes over Colette.
It was Superstorm’s first Group 1 victory after a few near misses, with O’Brien claiming it was a reward for the effort of the ultra-consistent horse who has now won nearly $ 3 million from price.
“His two wins in Group 1 were as good as you could see in Group 1,” said O’Brien after Superstorm ($ 8) got the bob from a quick-finish Icebath (6, $ 50) and Cascadian ($ 13). no spring chicken and it still rolls as good as it ever did.
Oliver couldn’t have been happier to get the narrow photo verdict, saying, “There were horses everywhere, (which) is typical of a big mile handicap.
“I was having a good race and I just had to rock on my heels… (but) luckily it didn’t cost me momentum. He just put his head on the line.
Perth-based Superstorm owner Bob Peters had considered running the horse at Cox Plate last week but decided Flemington was giving Sebring’s son his best hope for success.
“He’s a really, really nice horse that has raced at the top his entire career so it’s great to get a Group 1 especially on Derby day,” said O’Brien.
“Bob got annoyed about running in the Cox Plate… (but) he was really looking forward to seeing him at Flemington in a high pressure mile which was probably a great setup for him.”
Superstorm narrowly beat a wall of horses, including $ 5 favorite Mr. Brightside, who was fourth, in a stunning finish with the first seven to cross the line within two lengths of the winner.
Originally posted as Superstorm heads home to win Group 1 Cantala Stakes