OLIVER GAINS REPLACEMENT CUP RIDE

International raider Red Verdon is out of Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup but rider Damien Oliver, pictured, has quickly found another ride.

Red Verdon had been a $51 chance in Tuesday’s Cup. However, the Ed Dunlop-trained galloper suffered a setback on Thursday when shifting a plate and bruising a heel and had been due to have another inspection by Racing Victoria vets on Saturday.

However  the Dunlop stable had withdrawn the horse before the inspection.

Darren Weir  moved quickly to book Oliver, who has won three Melbourne Cups previously with Doriemus, Media Puzzle and Fiorente.

Meanwhile, Nick Williams, son of owner Lloyd Williams, looked unimpressed after making his selection for the favourite Yucatan (23), but later said he was not worried about the barrier.

“It wasn’t what you want, more the barriers you don’t want,” Williams said.

“What I didn’t want was to get stuck [inside in] barriers one or two. They can be deadly.

“In these races, I think barriers are largely irrelevant.”

Owner Marwan Koukash said Magic Circle, which rocketed up in Cup calculations after wins in the Chester Cup and the Henry II Stakes  earlier this year, was on track to win despite a wide barrier.

“This is the best stayer I’ve ever had,” he  said.

“I had Mount Athos in the Melbourne Cup, it came third — this is, trust me, a better horse.

“I’m living the dream right now. This horse is going to deliver the dream on Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, Verry Elleegant’s  VRC Oaks price hast drifted from $2.30 to $3.50 after her Wakeful failure while Aristia firmed from $6 to $3.60.

Trainer Darren Weir said the former Kiwi would press on to Thursday’s Group 1 2500m test while jockey John Allen said he hoped the Wakeful run had taken the edge off her.

“They really backed off the tempo and she became very awkward,” Allen said.

 

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