Last season’s Melbourne premier rider Damien Oliver will delay his start to defend his title after withdrawing from the Moonee Valley meeting on Saturday.
Oliver was down to ride five horses at Moonee Valley which was to be his first day back riding in Australia after a short stint riding in Mauritius.
But the result of stepping on a sea urchin while surfing on the Indian Ocean nation island has taken longer than expected to heal and subsequently forcing him to forfeit his rides on the weekend.
Racing Victoria stewards released a statement that Oliver would be unable to ride and passed on the following replacements
Race 1, The Bagman – Craig Newitt.
Race 3, Mulaqen – Craig Newit.
Race 5, Cool Hero – Dwayne Dunn.
Race 6, Illustrious Lad – Ben Melham.
Race 9, Acapela – James Winks.
Oliver bounced back from a turbulent year the previous season and after spending ten months on the sidelines after being found guilty of betting went on to win the 2013 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente as well as collecting is ninth Melbourne jockey’s premiership title.
The three time Melbourne Cup winning jockey wrapped up his successful year in the saddle with a win on the Sunshine Coast trained River Lad in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Oliver, who rode fifty-nine Melbourne Metropolitan winners to secure the title by eighteen wins over Glen Boss, has always been known for his love of surfing and won’t forget the waves of Mauritius in a hurry.
“There a bit of surfing there and I got some nice waves, but had a little bit of an unfortunate incident with a sea urchin,” Oliver told the Herald Sun.
“I was coming in across the rocks and I got it (spines) in my feet which was quite painful. I’ve got most of them out and had a few more taken out this week.”
Oliver expects to be fit to ride at the Sportingbet Park Sandown Hillside meeting on Wednesday, August 6.