Oliver aims to add to Melbourne Cup Carnival tally

30 October 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

Damien Oliver is looking forward to riding at his last Melbourne Cup Carnival before retirement.

Damien Oliver says he is getting a bit 'Damien Oliver worn out' with all the media attention as his stellar riding career draws to a close. 

The most winningest jockey over the Melbourne Cup Carnival with 85 victories over a career spanning 35 years, Oliver rides at this year's Carnival for the last time with potentially the Thousand Guineas meeting at Caulfield on November 18 his final meeting in Melbourne. 

Oliver announced retirement plans in August that he would retire after the Perth Summer Carnival in December. 

"I'm getting a bit Damien Oliver worn out," Oliver said. 

"It will be nice when it's all over and I'll be able to put the feet up and relax. 

"It's been a bit overwhelming at times. I'm not one that enjoys a lot of attention, but I'm glad I've got one more Carnival, for sure. 

"I've had a great career and I'm looking forward to the next week and hopefully I can go out a winner. 

"I'm sure there will be some mixed emotions. It's been a big part of my life for 35 years or so. 

"It won't be easy letting go, but I've been pretty fortunate over the time and probably had a longer go at it than a lot of sports people do." 

With the Melbourne Spring Carnival in full swing, each big race is Oliver's last. 

He did not have a ride in the Caulfield Cup and partnered Duais into fourth place in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley last Saturday. 

Oliver will ride Alenquer in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 7, looking to add to previous wins on Doriemus (1995), Media Puzzle (2002) and Fiorente (2013). 

If successful on Alenquer, Oliver will join Harry White and Bobbie Lewis as the most winningest jockey in Melbourne Cup history, while also riding a winner of the Cup in four different decades. 

Oliver was only confirmed on Alenquer on Saturday after the Mike Moroney-trained galloper finished a closing ninth, beaten less than 3-½ lengths, in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) last Friday night. 

"He's not without a chance as we saw with Duais on Saturday," Oliver said. 

"She was 40-1 and could have gone close with a bit more luck. 

"I've got a great trainer, he knows how to win the Cup, and a horse that seems to be finding form at the right time. 

"You have to go into these races thinking you are a chance." 

Before Cup Day, Oliver will be out to add to add to his six wins in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) when he partners the Nigel Blackiston-trained Mercante. 

His last win in the Classic for three-year-olds came aboard Warning in 2019. 

"I've got a bit of an outsider in the Derby, Marcante, but he's not without a chance," Oliver said. 

"I think he'll run the distance, which is important." 

And later in the week Oliver will be aboard Basilinna for Emma-Lee and David Browne in the Group 1 VRC Oaks on November 9, a race he shares the record of seven wins with Bobbie Lewis. 

"She's been running well in her lead-up races and should also run the distance," Oliver said.