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Damien Oliver - Manikato Stakes Night at Moonee Valley Racecourse 24.09.2010

Damien Oliver bet A$10,000 on a rival at Moonee Valley two years ago

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Jockey Damien Oliver hit with ten-month ban

Australia: Leading jockey Damien Oliver, whose big-race wins include two Melbourne Cup triumphs, has been banned for ten months for betting on a rival horse at Moonee Valley in October 2010.

That was the verdict reached by Racing Victoria (RV) stewards who held an inquiry on Tuesday and found the rider in breach of two rules. He was also handed a one-month suspension for using his mobile phone in a restricted area, although the bans will be served concurrently.

Oliver, who won the Melbourne Cup for Dermot Weld on Media Puzzle in 2002 and on Doriemus seven years earlier, struck the A$10,000 bet on Miss Octopussy via a third party.

She won the race, the Haden Handicap over 6f at Moonee Valley, while Oliver finished sixth on his mount Europa Point.

"I want to apologise to the racing industry - I'm sorry for my actions," he said.

The stewards took into account Oliver's admissions of guilt, forthright evidence and remorse, his "outstanding record" in the industry for over 20 years, as well as finding that the outcome of the race was not affected by his bet.

RV chairman Michael Duffy said: "It is my belief that the penalty delivered in today's stewards' inquiry was appropriate given the cooperation afforded by Mr Oliver and the matters put forward on his behalf in mitigation of penalty.

"The result of today's stewards' inquiry has sent a powerful message to the jockey profession that there is a zero tolerance of any breaches of the prohibition on betting."

Racing minister Denis Napthine has called for an independent investigation of RV's handling of the case and the governing body's chief executive Rob Hines added: "Racing Victoria acknowledges and is supportive of racing minister Denis Napthine's request for an independent inquiry by the racing integrity commissioner Sal Perna into the handling of the Damien Oliver investigation by Racing Victoria stewards."

Oliver, who also has four Caulfield Cups and two Cox Plates on his cv, will be able to ride work from July and can return to race-riding in September.

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