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Oliver excited about Flying Artie’s return

This time last year jockey Damien Oliver had to choose between Extreme Choice and Flying Artie in the Blue Diamond Stakes.

Oliver went the way of Flying Artie who finished second to Extreme Chioce in the Blue Diamond.

But Flying Artie has proven himself a high-class colt since and justified Oliver’s opinion when the three-year-old defeated a stellar field including Extreme Choice in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes in October.

The only problem for Oliver was he missed the Coolmore ride through suspension after being banned for his winning ride on the colt in the Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield earlier that month.

“It was obviously disappointing because I identified him pretty early as a good horse,” Oliver said.

“He ran well first-up in the Blue Sapphire and then I had that suspension so I wasn’t able to ride him. So that was disappointing.”

Oliver will get another chance to snare a Group One win on Flying Artie in Saturday’s Lightning Stakes at Flemington.

Flying Artie’s preparation for his return has included an impressive barrier trial at Cranbourne last week when he cruised to a close second behind Lightning Stakes rival Heatherly.

Oliver believes Flying Artie is ready to fire first-up, having proven himself down the straight at Flemington with his dominant Coolmore win and his runner-up finish on debut in the Maribyrnong Plate.

“I’m really pleased with the way he’s come back,” Oliver said.

“It was a good trial on Tuesday and a good hit-out that he needed. I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s going into it.

“He’s a winner down the straight in probably the race I felt of the spring carnival, the Coolmore, with so many great three-year-olds.

“So I think the Lightning, 1000 metres first-up, is a really good proposition for him.”

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