Damien Oliver (right) steers Voodoo Lad to victory in the Aurie’s Star at Flemington. Picture: Getty Images
Damien Oliver (right) steers Voodoo Lad to victory in the Aurie’s Star at Flemington. Picture: Getty Images

Voodoo Lad makes late dash for Everest slot

DARREN Weir has a message for the three remaining slot holders in The Everest - don't forget Voodoo Lad after he took out the Group 3 Aurie's Star Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.

"There would be worse horses than him I reckon," Weir said.

It was another day of Weir domination with the master trainer winning seven races - four of them at Flemington, including Choisborder, The Statesman and Theanswermyfriend.

Weir also trained winners at Morphettville, Newcastle and Moe.

Weir said he wasn't certain what path Voodoo Lad would follow.

He suggested Voodoo Lad could try to make amends in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, where he finished an unlucky fourth last year.

"There's other options, I've got a bit to think about," he said. "The Gilgai Stakes back here or the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on the same day as The Everest."

 

Darren Weir continues to smash records with his training empire.
Darren Weir continues to smash records with his training empire.

Voodoo Lad has had three starts this campaign for a first-up win in the Sir John Monash Stakes and a second behind Vega Magic in the Bletchingly Stakes, before Saturday's win.

Voodoo Lad was the recipient of a brilliant ride from Damien Oliver who made the most of a rare opportunity to ride for Weir.

Voodoo Lad ($4.60) settled last and Oliver trekked a path down the middle of the track on the inside of his rivals but had to work to grab Home Of The Brave, who led and had dashed clear.

Voodoo Lad drew away to defeat Home Of The Brave ($3.90) by three quarters of a length with Brave Song ($4) a length-and-a-half away third.

Oliver said he followed Weir's instructions to a tee with the key being to ride the horse negatively in the early stages.

Damien Oliver produced a great ride on Voodoo Lad. Picture: Getty Images
Damien Oliver produced a great ride on Voodoo Lad. Picture: Getty Images

"They didn't go that hard but Darren's focus was to get him to switch off and relax and then use his turn of foot," Oliver said.

Oliver said when Voodoo Lad got to Home Of The Brave the other horse kicked back but in the finish he drew away nicely.

"He's got an exceptional last 400m when he switches off," Oliver said.

He said when Weir started out training he used to ride a lot for him but now he was happy to get the "odd breadcrumb" knowing he had his team of regular jockeys.

James Cummings' assistant trainer Reg Fleming said Home Of The Brave would take great benefit from his Australian debut.

Jockey Damian Lane described the performance as a good, tough effort.

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