Damien Oliver ready to get Loco in SA Derby

Champion jockey Damien Oliver is keen to add to his Australian Group 1 tally of 123 winners.

As part of his bid to claim the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on Saturday, Oliver made the trip to Cranbourne on Tuesday morning to partner his Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained Derby hope Loco in his final gallop ahead of the race.

Oliver last won the South Australian Derby on Zabeelionaire in 2012 and is keen to add another Classic to his Group 1 haul.

Loco will be lining up for his fifth race start on Saturday having won a Pakenham maiden on debut before finishing second at his last three starts which included the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2000m) at Morphettville on April 29 at his last start.

Kent Jnr said Oliver reported after the race that Loco had found the front too soon and pricked his ears thinking his job was done.

“Ollie doesn’t ride a lot of work for us, but he wanted to come down and do a bit of practise on him on Tuesday morning,” Kent Jnr said.

“So, we sat him off a bunny and it went straight past it at the 200 metres and kept going on with it.

“The horse was fit enough, but we just wanted a mental drill for him, and he went really well.

“He’s bouncy out of his skin.”

Kent Jnr is unconcerned with the draw, 15 in the 20-horse field, which will see him jump from barrier 12 if all four emergencies do not gain a start.

“I think he’s drawn well for him with the way that track has been playing where they seem to be getting back and running on,” Kent Jnr said.

“He can go to sleep for the first 10 furlongs (2000m) and then look to follow the right horse into the race and Ollie just has to make sure he times his run properly.”

Comparing Loco to last year’s Derby winner Jungle Magnate, Kent Jnr said this year’s contestant has a better turn of foot.

“Jungle Magnate was a real tough horse, and that Derby was run to suit him,” Kent Jnr said.

“But I think Loco’s a real nice chance, but it is a strong Derby.”

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