Oliver heading north for Gosford features

Champion jockey Damien Oliver will team up with trainer Kris Lees to ride last-start Group Two Villiers Stakes winner Sense Of Occasion in the Listed Gosford Cup.

The pair combined for Group One glory with Lucia Valentina in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April and will be out for more success in Friday’s provincial Cup over 2100m.

Veteran stayer Destiny’s Kiss has been nominated for the race which he won last year and a victory would take his career earnings past $1 million.

Trained by Joe Pride, the eight-year-old gelding has scored two stakes wins over 2400m this campaign on wet and dry tracks.

Destiny’s Kiss is one of seven entries for Friday’s provincial feature along with dominant Group Three Summer Cup winner Red Excitement.

Chris Waller-trained pair Loophole and Index Linked are among the nominations which have been extended until Tuesday morning.

Oliver is also booked to ride the Pride-trained sprinter Ball Of Muscle in the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) and Khutulun for Victorian trainer Luke Oliver in the Group Three Belle Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).

There are 15 horses entered for the Belle Of The Turf including the Mark Newnham-trained Anisha who is a likely acceptor.

While Anisha faces a sharp rise in class from a last-start second during the public holiday meeting at Randwick on January 2, Newnham is counting on history to boost her hopes.

“I’ve had a look at the last couple of years and mares with a similar rating to her have raced well,” Newnham said.

“She’s in career-best form and the Towell family who own her are breeders so it’s an opportunity for her to try and get some black type.”

The former Bjorn Baker-trained mare put together back-to-back wins for Newnham before the Randwick defeat where she was tested over 1600m for the first time.

“She probably just needed a bit more pace in the race but she hit the line well,” Newnham said.

“She’s ticked that box now. We know she runs a mile.”

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