Oliver and Cummings chase milestone win
Vilana can give Damien Oliver and James Cummings a milestone victory at Flemington
Damien Oliver and James Cummings will chase their 50th winner together when they team with Vilana at Flemington on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Vilana and stablemate Tamerlane line-up in the Group 2 The Damien Oliver (1400m) on Saturday, a race that has been renamed from the Linlithgow Stakes to honour the champion jockey who rides at his final Penfolds Victoria Derby Day meeting.
Oliver has over 3180 wins to his credit in a career spanning more than 35 years and only with Lee Freedman, Mick Price and Danny O'Brien has the champion jockey ridden more winners than with Cummings.
Vilana is Oliver's only ride for Cummings on the opening day of Cup week, but Cummings is confident the entire can put his best foot forward on Saturday.
Vilana resumed from running in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm in June by finishing fifth in the Group 3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 14.
"I think the horse is really flying and he can win the race," Cummings said.
"I do have great respect for the depth of this field, and this won't be easy for Vilana with 59 kilos.
"But I like the way he's going, and I can see things working out beautifully from this draw.
"Hopefully, he's going well enough to knock off his stablemate."
Stablemate Tamerlane has drawn barrier one and will have the services of James Cummings.
The gelding is a last start winner at Flemington, leading throughout over Saturday's course and distance before returning to Sydney where he ran third in a barrier trial at Warwick Farm on October 23.
"Tamerlane is not going to be an easy horse to get past," Cummings said.
"Contrary to what we actually expected pre-race last start, he didn't quite get as soft a lead as everybody had him down as getting.
"He was softened up a little bit but was still brave enough to win.
"He'll be ready to run another good race from the draw, as long as he begins well."