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McNeil to ride Orderofthegarter in Caulfield Cup on Ollie’s advice

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“He’s in great form and he’s up and coming so he’s a good choice, I would have thought.

“He’s the rising star of it all and the truth is he was Damien Oliver’s suggestion to us. Ollie’s had the feel of the horse more than anyone, so happy to go with it.”

McNeil said it was a feather in his cap to receive the recommendation from Oliver.

“I’ve got great respect for Ollie and to have someone such as him being able to put your name forward always helps,” he said.

“He [Orderofthegarter] looked impressive yesterday, obviously gets in really well at the weights and he’s going to get benefit from the run so I’m really looking forward to it.

“I knew the possibility might be there but it’s a great honour to be able to ride in such a big race for the Williams family.”

Though currently allocated 50kg for the Caulfield Cup, the former European galloper is eligible for a penalty. Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter will make an announcement on Monday afternoon.

Night’s Watch was penalised 1kg in 2018 for his Naturalism win, while Jameka, who won the Naturalism in 2016, was penalised half a kilogram before she won the Caulfield Cup, as was Harlem in 2017. Brimham Rocks was not penalised for winning the race last year.

Jockey Daniel Moor, who has a great connection with O’Brien and steered a winner for the reigning Melbourne Cup-winning trainer at the Heath on Saturday, had been riding Orderofthegarter in trackwork and was hoping to snare the prized ride, but it was rising star McNeil who secured the opportunity.

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McNeil broke through to secure his first group 1 win last spring on board Kings Will Dream in the Turnbull Stakes in what was a breakout season for the 25-year-old, and has carried that form into this season, striking at 15.9 per cent riders to winners since August 1, including a city win on Wise Counsel at Caulfield on Saturday.

This year’s Caulfield Cup will be the first Melbourne spring feature that McNeil has ridden in after he was overlooked for the ride on Kings Will Dream in last year’s Cox Plate.

McNeil, who has ridden in a Blue Diamond, was booked to ride emergency Neufbosc in last year’s Caulfield Cup, but the Lindsay Park runner did not gain a start.

With the prospect of no international or interstate jockeys coming to Melbourne for this year’s carnival, McNeil is a leading contender to ride light in this year’s Melbourne Cup.

Orderofthegarter was $21 for the Caulfield Cup before Saturday’s win, but has shortened into $11 after guaranteeing his spot in the race.

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