If first impressions count for anything then champion jockey Damien Oliver is happy to be teaming up with Perth colt Brave Halo in the Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Sandown on Saturday.
Oliver had his first sit on the Sean and Jake Casey-trained juvenile at trackwork this morning (Tuesday) and was buoyed by what he felt underneath him in a gallop at Sandown.
“He went terrific and I’m really pleased with him,” Oliver told The Races WA.
“He went half mile even and worked home the last 400m.
“He felt great and was really enthusiastic.
“He’s not a big horse, but nice and sound and clean-winded.
“He seems to have settled in really well.”
The Casey’s are testing the Victorian waters and aiming high with Brave Halo, who in his short career in Perth has showed above average ability.
Purchased as a weanling for $135,000, the Brave Smash two-year-old has enjoyed a blemish free record with three wins from as many starts.
Blessed with explosive speed, Brave Halo validated his trip to Melbourne when he smashed rivals by five lengths as the raging favourite in November.
Oliver says he can understand why the Casey’s have such high regard for Brave Halo.
“He can’t do any more than what he has done,” Oliver said.
“I can see why they (Casey’s) were thinking of bringing him over.”
Brave Halo is a narrow favourite ($3.50) with Tabtouch in their all in market for the Blue Diamond Prelude.
The James Cummings-trained Barber is on the second line of betting at $3.60, clear of Kings Gambit ($6.50).
Oliver is hopeful Brave Halo can measure up to the grade.
“He will get an opportunity to see how he measures up,” Oliver said.
“From what he showed me this morning (Tuesday) I think he’s going to be more than competitive, for sure.”
Oliver says he won’t be too perturbed where Brave Halo starts from in the Blue Diamond after tomorrow’s barrier draw.
“It doesn’t really bother me coming out of that chute at Sandown,” Oliver said.
“Barriers are not significant from that start.”