Damien Oliver produces masterpiece to win Cantala Stakes

Damien Oliver has produced another masterpiece to land Superstorm the winner of the Cantala Stakes at Flemington.

It was Oliver’s second Group 1 victory at Flemington on Saturday having earlier guided Colette, also over the 1600m course, to win the Empire Rose Stakes.

In a keenly contested affair, Superstorm ($8) scored a short-half-head win from Icebath ($6.50) with Cascadian ($13) the same margin off third, while a length separated the first six across the line.

“It feels pretty good,” Oliver said in landing his 120th Australian Group 1 success.

“It was nice to get a narrow victory. There were horses everywhere, typical of a big mile handicap.

“I was getting a good run through and then I just had to switch off one’s heels suddenly when it straightened. Fortunately, it didn’t cost him any momentum and he stuck his head out on the line.”

Trainer Danny O’Brien said Oliver is riding as well as he had ever done even though he 49 years old.

“His two Group 1 wins today have been as good as you’ll ever see,” O’Brien said.

“He’s no spring chicken and he’s still riding as well as he’s ever done.”

Superstorm relished the return to Flemington for Saturday’s race.

As a three-year-old he finished second to Alligator Blood in the 2020 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) then later that spring he finished seventh to Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).

O’Brien said Superstorm was a class horse that had competed in the best company throughout his career.

“He won the Feehan, was placed in the Underwood and the Toorak so it’s great to knock off a big one with him,” O’Brien said.

“Having one of Bob Peters’ horses, it is great to get the result.

“Bob tossed up about running him in the Cox Plate, but he really was keen to see him at Flemington in a really high-pressure mile which is probably the best set up for him.”

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