Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Herald Sun
Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Herald Sun

Leo Schlink, Mark Dunn Herald Sun

Oliver, 40, who has just completed a busy and successful Spring Carnival campaign, has been stood down immediately from riding.

"On the basis of those admissions and the subsequent charges, Mr Oliver has been stood down from riding under Australian Rule of Racing (AR) 193 pending a hearing before a stewards' panel on Tuesday, 20 November 2012,'' Racing Victoria said in a statement issued this morning.

"The admission and charges follow an investigation by stewards into allegations that Mr Oliver bet on favourite and race winner Miss Octopussy at Moonee Valley on 1 October 2010, a race in which he finished sixth on second favourite Europa Point."

The Herald Sun exclusively revealed today that Oliver was facing a D-day on the charges.

He now faces a suspension of between eight months and a year if found guilty on the two charges.

RVL has charged Oliver with illegally placing a bet of $10,000 on Miss Octopussy to win Race 6, the Haden Handicap (1200m), at Moonee Valley on 1 October 2010.

The second charge alleges that Oliver, in contravention of racing rules, had in his possession and used a mobile telephone in the area of the jockeys' room prior to the race won by Miss Octopussy at Moonee Valley on 1 October 2010.

It is understood Oliver late yesterday formally admitted to both the breaches.

Victorian Racing Minister Dr Denis Napthine believes despite the recent controversies including the Oliver charges that racing isn't in turmoil.

"I think that would be an over-reaction. We've had a good spring carnival, good crowd numbers and betting turnover was up,'' he said.

"There is a problem though in issues relating to integrity in some cases."

Dr Napthine said 9999 races out of every 10,000 were run without question.

"There are a couple of races from the last three or four years which are subject to investigation," Dr Napthine said.

RVL chief executive officer Rob Hines could not be contacted last night.

Gamble didn't pay off for Cup winner Shinn

A winner of eight Victorian jockeys premierships and member of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, Oliver is believed to have submitted a deposition to Racing Victoria yesterday which is understood to contain information relating to the betting and phone use allegations.

Industry sources say Oliver had not previously confessed to any impropriety.

The Herald Sun understands Oliver placed the wager through a well-known racing figure.

There is speculation the bet might have been organised via a mobile call from the jockeys' room during a race meeting.

Miss Octopussy won the Haden Handicap as $2.30 favourite -- returning a $23,000 collect for a $10,000 wager. Europa Point started a $3.80 second favourite in the race, finishing a distant sixth.

Bookies fill their boots over Spring Carnival

But racing industry sources say RVL stewards have no issue with the way Oliver rode Europa Point.

It is understood Oliver will not be charged with any other illegal betting activity and that he has co-operated fully with investigating stewards Rob Montgomery and James Hitchcock and barrister Tony Burns.

If so, Oliver almost certainly will receive a lighter penalty than those handed to former Victorians Blake Shinn and Peter Robl by NSW stewards in 2010.

Melbourne Cup-winning Shinn received a 15-month ban, while Robl was given a 12-month suspension.


It was later revealed Shinn bet $581,263.50 in just under two years on thoroughbred racing alone and is estimated to have gambled about $1 million in total on racing, trots and dogs over the same period.

Robl was banned for six months for betting and was handed another six months for giving false evidence.

Oliver has ridden 97 Group 1 winners and dominated at the Melbourne Cup carnival, claiming wins in the Victoria Derby and Emirates Stakes.

But the spring carnival was a roller-coaster for one of racing's cult figures. He lost the Caulfield Cup ride on My Quest For Peace and the Cox Plate mount on eventual Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon when the allegations surfaced.

Oliver could not be contacted last night.

The charges issued are:

* CHARGE ONE: AR 83(c): Every jockey or apprentice may be penalised if he bets, or facilitates the making of, or has any interest in a bet on any race or contingency relating to thoroughbred racing, or if he be present in the betting ring during any race meeting. 

* CHARGE TWO: AR 160B(3): “No person shall, without the permission of the Stewards: within the area of the jockeys room bring into, have in his possession, or use any portable telephone, radio transmitter, radio transceiver or any other appliance, apparatus, instrument or equipment capable of receiving or transmitting information.”

UPDATE: DAMIEN Oliver is facing a one-year ban from riding after being formally charged by stewards with two offences after he admitted to betting on a rival horse


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