A refreshed Damien Oliveris looking forward to starring again at this year’s Spring Carnival following his stint on the sidelines resulting from his disqualification for betting.
Oliver was allowed to ride through last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival with the betting controversy hanging over his head and was eventually disqualified for eight months plus a two month suspension for placing a $10,000 bet on Miss Octopussy in a race at Moonee Valley in October 2010 that he had another ride in.
The champion jockey was back at track work this morning after his disqualification which ended at midnight on Friday and is looking forward to resuming race riding on September 13.
“It was nice to get up this morning and have something to do,” Oliver said.
“I’ve had to focus on keeping active and busy and occupied and that certainly helped the time go past.”
“I’ve learned a lot from it for sure.”
“Hopefully, I can become a better person for it. Obviously, it was very tough last spring.
Oliver was back on board Commanding Jewel this morning at Leon Corstens’ Romsey training complex and was pleased to get a feel of the filly after the pair combined to take out the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield last October.
“It’s great to be back on the horse again, especially a good one like Commanding Jewel,” Oliver said.
“I haven’t been on her since last spring, but she has really matured and developed. It’s nice to be back on her.”
Oliver is keen to rebuild his career and work hard to restore the image of racing in his home state following the scandal which made headlines throughout the entire Spring Carnival last year.
“There was a lot of bad publicity last spring and a lot of that was due to me,” Oliver said.
“I take full responsibility for that. It was all my own doing and all my own fault.
“I have a lot of bridges to mend over the coming time and hopefully I can do that.”
“My view is that that overwhelming majority of people in racing are honest and hard working.
“It’s up to me know to prove that I can be accepted in that industry again.”
Oliver has won most Group 1 races on the Australian’ Racing Calendar including the big four, The Melbourne Cup , The Caulfield Cup, the Cox Plate and the Golden Slipper.
His emotional victory on Media Puzzle in the 2002 Melbourne Cup will be remember for ever following his win on Doriemus in 1995.
Oliver won four Caulfield Cups, Mannerism (1992), Paris Lane (1994), Doriemus (1995), and Sky Heights (1999), plus two Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Dane Ripper (1997) and Northerly (2001).
And the Grand Slam of Group 1 races was wrapped up with his win on Forenscisin the 2007 Golden Slipper Stakes for the two year olds at Rosehill.