Champion jockey Damien Oliver has returned from holidays to land the feature race at Caulfield.
Oliver hadn’t ridden in the Melbourne metropolitan area since late June and only returned to racing at Geelong on Friday.
While his fitness might have been lacking, his race guile certainly wasn’t as he guided Wild Rain to a comfortable victory in the Group Three Sir John Monash Stakes on Saturday.
Sent out a $5.50 chance, Wild Rain scored by 1-3/4 lengths from Trevinder ($21), with Atmospherical ($12) in third place.
Lord Of The Sky ($11) was third over the line but relegated to fourth following a successful protest by Nick Hall on Atmospherical.
Oliver said Saturday’s 1100m journey suited Wild Rain.
“She gave a good kick on the turn and I knew she would be hard to run down,” Oliver said.
“I think this is about her level but the key is the short course. At the thousand to 1100 metres she is very effective.”
WIld Rain showed she was on target for a first-up assault on the Sir John Monash with a sparkling jump-out at Flemington.
Levi Kavanagh, standing in for his trainer father, Mark, who is holidaying overseas, said the mare was given a solid hit-out to have her ready for Saturday’s first-up assault.
“We had her scheduled to trial the week before and they got called off because of the rain,” he said.
“I think she’s improved and come back better this time, so fingers crossed we can pick up a few more with her.”
Kavanagh said Wild Rain would likely have her next outing in the Carlyon Stakes at Moonee Valley on August 20.
Dwayne Dunn is looking forward to returning to Caulfield in two week’s time to partner Fast ‘N’ Rocking, the heavily supported $2.80 favourite, in the Bletchingly Stakes.
Fast ‘N’ Rocking failed to get clear running finishing in sixth position.
“They were bunched outside of me early and they sucked me in to going down to the rail,” Dunn said.
“He’ll be hard to beat in two weeks time.”