Spring racing 2016: Damien Oliver turns to VCAT to appeal 20-meeting suspension
Champion jockey Damien Oliver will turn to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to have his 20 meeting suspension overturned after failing on Friday in front of the Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board.
Oliver was outed last Wednesday on a reckless riding charge at Caulfield and has lost the mounts in the Geelong and Bendigo Cups as well as the rich Cox Plate day and Derby day following his sentence.
Appeal dismissed: Damien Oliver banned for reckless riding. Photo: Getty Images
Oliver will miss out on the chance of potentially winning $12 million in prize money during his time away, however he is free to ride in the Melbourne Cup as the suspension ends the night before the meeting.
Rarely do jockeys turn to VCAT in a bid to overturn a stewards suspension.
It’s understood though that the earliest convenient hearing of Oliver’s appeal could be next Friday.
Oliver was appealing against a reckless riding charge from Wednesday at Caulfield in which stewards ousted the rider until Melbourne Cup eve.
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.