Damien Oliver Handed 10 Month Ban From Racing

By: Sarah Fortnum
November 20th, 2012

Champion jockey Damien Oliver has been handed a 10 month suspension for his involvement in placing an illegal bet.

Damien Oliver

Jockey Damien Oliver has been banned from racing for 10 months. Photo by: Taron Clarke.

Oliver placed the $10,000 bet on a rival horse in a race at Moonee Valley on October, 2010, earning him more than $23,000 in winnings.

The jockey was disqualified today for eight months for his illegal wager, while he was given an extra two months for using a mobile phone in the jockey’s room.

After the sentencing, Oliver made a plea for forgiveness to the industry that has long supported him.

“I want to apologise to the racing industy,” he said.

“I’m deeply sorry for my actions.”

During the hearing Oliver blamed his indiscretion on his unstable home life, which had seen his wife leave their house with his three children.

“It was the only time I have ever placed a bet on a rival horse,” he said.

“It was during the worst period of my life.

“My wife had taken the children from me. I was now alone.

“I was living alone and unsure if I could save my marriage.”

Oliver’s illegal bet first came to light prior to the spring’s major features, causing him to lose many of his prime carnival rides.

The most high profile of these was My Quest For Peace, with English trainer Luca Cumani taking the jockey off the horse in the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup despite already being formally booked for the ride.

However, Oliver was still able to perform at his best during the carnival, winning the Group 1 Thousand Guineas aboard Commanding Jewel and the Group 1 Emirates Stakes with Happy Trails.

Oliver will now be unable to ride again until September, 2013, when the next spring racing carnival will step into action.

He is yet to make a formal comment concerning his future in the sport and whether or not he will return to riding once his suspension is served.

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