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8/11/2002 edition

Emotional Damien Oliver Wins Melbourne Cup

Damien Oliver won the Melbourne Cup with a perfect ride on the Dermot Weld trained 6YO gelding Media Puzzle. The Irish trainer also trained the 1993 Melbourne Cup winner, Vintage Crop.

Damien Oliver's life has been hit by tragedy. His father died as a result of a race accident when Damien Oliver was only two, and last week Damien Oliver's wonderful friend and jockey brother Jason, tragically died after a trackwork accident.

It was courage of the highest order for Damien Oliver to ride on Derby Day and Cup Day. But he knew his brother Jason would want him to ride. Damien Oliver rode Media Puzzle in brother Jason Oliver's gear, with Jason Oliver's name proudly displayed. He won the the Melbourne Cup, in a moving tribute for his brother.

Media Puzzle's outstanding win in track record time in the 2400 metres Geelong Cup on October 23 was a huge leg in. What you saw then was what you got in the Cup. Plus Media Puzzle even dropped one kilo in weight following that win.

Mr. Prudent, who started at $41.00, ran a massive race for second. Mr. Prudent is a proven 3200 metres horse, with a win in 2001 and a second by a nose this year in the 3200 metres Sydney Cup.

That meant the Cup trifecta, which paid $2,665 on SuperTab, could have been obtained by punters betting wide. The well fancied Beekeeper finished third. The number one rule for Melbourne Cup multiples is to never leave out proven 3200 metres horses for at least second and third, even if they don't look a winning chance.

There were complaints from a number of local and overseas trainers about the firmness of the track. But Flemington's track manager Terry Watson had an unenviable job. The weather forecast was for significant rain, the clouds looked very threatening and some suburbs of Melbourne received heavy rain. But the rain missed Flemington.

David Hall, trainer of local horse Pentastic, who finished fifth, said he was amazed and disappointed with the Victorian Racing Club that the track was presented in such a hard condition. Pentastic, he said, was feeling the ground badly over the last 300 and not putting in the big strides.

Dermot Weld, despite training the winner, warned that European trainers could think twice about making the trip to Melbourne for the Carnival if softer tracks are not prepared. He said his other horse Vinnie Roe, who finished fourth, struggled badly on the firm surface

Jockey Frankie Dettori said he virtually pulled the Godolphin's horse Pugin out of the race half way up the home straight as the horse couldn't keep going. Pugin finished 24 lengths from the winner after jarring up.

But that has not deterred the Godolphin, who is already planning an attack on next year's Melbourne Cup and is looking at bringing over a big team of horses and running them in lead up races to acclimatise to Australian racing.

The best performing overseas horses in the Cup, the winner Media Puzzle and Beekeeper, who finished third, had lead up races.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Damien Oliver wins Melbourne Cup
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Money talks - Rosehill plunge horses
Money talks - Flemington plunge horses
Money talks - Doomben plunge horses
Money talks - Morphettville plunge horses
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 5/11/2002
Punt to Win index

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