Damien Oliver to ride in Melbourne Cup

Racing Victoria’s chief steward Terry Bailey said the he didn’t have the power to stand down jockey Damien Oliver from riding at today’s Melbourne Cup meeting at Flemington after the embattled jockey has reportedly admitted to betting allegations that are currently under investigation.

“The matter is still on foot.The laws of the land, there’s got to be procedural fairness,” Bailey said.

The inquiry into allegations that Oliver placed a bet of $10,000 through a third party on Miss Octopussy in the same race that he rode Europa Point at Moonee Valley in October 2010 is being headed by Racing Victoria deputy chief steward Robert Montgomery.

While press reports are saying Oliver has admitted to having the bet, Bailey said that he hasn’t had confirmation of that as he is not sitting in on the inquiry.

“We don’t know that. That’s a matter for the panel of stewards that are hearing the investigation,” Bailiey said.

“What I’m being told is there are other people that need to be questioned further and until such time that that’s happened they’re not prepared to wrap up their findings.

“As I said, the laws of the land say procedural fairness must prevail.”

Oliver is booked to ride Americain in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) after being dumped from My Quest For Peace in the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup when the betting scandal surfaced at the beginning of the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

And the champion jockey also lost the ride on Cox Plate favourite Green Moon who finished seventh to Ocean Park for Craig Williams.

But Oliver’s luck changed when Americain’s owner Gerry Ryan rang to book him for the Melbourne Cup ride, replacing regular rider Gerald Mosse who rode the French stayer when an unlucky fourth to Dunaden last year.

“He was very unlucky last year,” Ryan said.

“Every trainer and every jockey said, ‘You should have won’.”

“It wasn’t a matter of sacking him. He just wasn’t appointed this time.”

“It’s the owners’ prerogative to appoint the jockey and we felt Americain is in a sense an Australian horse now and has to be ridden like Australians ride – tighter.

“Damien knows not only the form of other horses but the form of other riders, and has ridden some Group winners for us over the years.”

French stayer Americain has eased slightly in the betting and after being favourite for the Melbourne Cup since Oliver was booked to ride last week is now at $8 with 2011 winner Dunaden and English galloper Mount Athos sharing the top spot at $7.

Last year’s runner-up Red Cadeaux is next in the betting at $9 with Galileo’s Choice and Maluckyday sharing the next line of betting at $15 with Lights Of Heaven at $18.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.