Bendigo jockey export Nash Rawiller is facing the prospect of losing the ride on Melbourne Cup favourite Fiorente.
Fairfax Media racing writer Patrick Bartley has reported Damien Oliver is expected to replace Rawiller as the rider for Fiorente in both the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
Confirmation is expected in the next 24 hours.
Oliver was set to replace Rawiller on the horse for Saturday's Turnbull Stakes but those plans were shelved when Oliver was suspended at Moonee Valley last weekend.
But Rawiller looks unable to delay the inevitable as his relationship with trainer Gai Waterhouse continues to erode.
Rumours of the switch came to light late last week with strength added to the claims at Flemington on Saturday, and although neither Oliver nor the Waterhouse stable have publicly confirmed the switch, sources close to both parties believe the deal is as good as done.
Rawiller has ridden Fiorente in all three runs so far this spring, including a remarkable last to first victory in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, but the horse was the last major player from the Waterhouse yard that he was linked to this spring, with the relationship souring in recent months following the highly publicised More Joyous scandal involving owner John Singleton.
Waterhouse is also tipped to strengthen her numbers in training at Flemington over the next six months with Oliver potentially in the box seat to take the role of stable rider for the team if that move goes ahead.
Oliver will return from suspension on Monday.