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Spring racing 2016: Damien Oliver 20-meeting suspension stands

by October 14, 2016 General
Patrick Bartley

Champion jockey Damien Oliver’s spring carnival is in disarray after he had his appeal against a 20-meeting suspension thrown out by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Boards on Friday morning.

Oliver was appealing against a reckless riding charge from Wednesday at Caulfield in which stewards ousted the rider until Melbourne Cup eve.

Appeal dismissed: Damien Oliver banned for reckless riding. Appeal dismissed: Damien Oliver banned for reckless riding. Photo: Getty Images

However, Oliver is free to ride in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday as, under the rules of racing in Victoria, once a jockey accepts a ride and the final fields have been established, he can take that mount.

Oliver was suspended after his winning ride on Flying Artie in the Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield on Wednesday.

Stewards told Oliver that ordinarily the suspension would be for a month but, because of the prizemoney of nearly $12 million on offer at this time of year, they chose to a sentence of 20 meetings.

Oliver will ride Exospheric for Lee and Anthony Freedman in the Caulfield Cup, but that will be the last major event he will be involved in until he returns on Melbourne Cup eve.

Trainer John Camilleri’s Vadamos, Oliver’s intended mount for in Saturday week’s Cox Plate, is now without a rider.

“On Wednesday night I had 32 messages left from jockeys wanting to ride him. Every jockey from Singapore to Hong Kong to Australia wants to get the mount,” Camilleri said.

A decision on a rider for Vadamos will be announced later today.

However, it’s going to be a glum spring for Oliver. He will also miss the rich Geelong and Bendigo cups and VRC Derby Day, one of the most important on the Australasian Calendar.

After an hour of deliberations the appeal was dismissed and, despite a submission on behalf of Oliver to reduce the verdict to 17 meetings so he could return for Derby Day, the RAD board declined to do so.