Three times Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver will miss some vital Group 1 races after being banned for a month after failing an alcohol breath test at Warrnambool today.
Oliver recorded an initial blood alcohol reading of .038 before .035 was recorded a short time later which is above the .02 limit set by Racing Victoria.
Oliver pleaded guilty to the offence after admitting that he had a few drinks over dinner on Wednesday night and was immediately stood down from his rides today on the last day of the three day Warrnambool Carnival and can’t resumed riding until Queensland Oaks day at Eagle Farm on June 4.
“I am very embarrassed and sorry about it. I am disappointed in myself,” Oliver told stewards.
“I’ve never had any problems with this rule before in 20 to 30 years of riding.”
Oliver had to relinquish his five rides at Warrnambool today, including the mount on the Gai Waterhouse trained Cafe Society in the Listed $200,000 Sungold Milk Warrnambool Cup (2350m).
The Hall Of Fame jockey was also booked to ride at the dual Group 1 meeting at Morphettville on Saturday and among his five mounts were the John O’Shea trained Asinara in the Group 1 $400,000 Schweppes Oaks (registered as Australasian Oaks) (2000m) and Vezalay for Leon and Troy Corstens in the Group 1 $400,000 UBET Classic (Registered as Robert Sangster Stakes) (1200m).
Oliver will also miss the beginning of the Brisbane Winter Carnival which includes the Group 1 $500,000 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 14, the Group 1 $650,000 Hardy Brothers Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 21 and the Group 1 $750,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 28.
But he will be able to ride at the Eagle Farm meeting on June 4 that features the running of the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m).
Oliver was in the winner’s stall on day two of the Warrnambool Carnival with wins on Landslide for trainer Henry Dwyer in the $25,000 BenchMark 64 Handicap (1700m) and on Edgewood for John Macmillan in the $30,000 BenchMark 70 Handicap (1400m).
Jumps jockey Paul Hamblin was also suspended for a month after recording an alcohol breath test reading of .033 initially followed by a reading of .022 fifteen minutes later.