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Oliver free to ride in Caulfield Cup: Cox Plate in doubt

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Champion jockey Damien Oliver is free to ride in Saturday’s Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield but will miss the chance of winning another Cox Plate if he loses his appeal against a reckless riding charge he sustained at Caulfield on Wednesday.

Damien Oliver, above, will appeal a 20 meeting suspension for reckless riding. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Damien Oliver, above, will appeal a 20 meeting suspension for reckless riding. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Oliver will ride the Lee and Anthony Freedman trained English import Exospheric, an $11 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au, in the Caulfield Cup and is booked to ride French galloper Vadamos in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22 but as it stands he will begin his twenty meeting suspension at midnight on Saturday October 15 and can resume riding on Melbourne Cup Day, November 1.

Oliver is free to ride at Saturday’s Caulfield Cup meeting at Caulfield and if his appeal is upheld will be able to chase his third Cox Plate after collecting the winning trophy in 1997 on the Bart Cummings trained Dane Ripper and on the West Australian champ Northerly in 2001.

Racing Victoria stewards claimed that Oliver moved out abruptly at the 700m on eventual winner Flying Artie in the Group 3 $350,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) causing Ken’s Dream with Dean Yendall on top to be hampered.

Oliver pleaded not guilty to the Stewards’ charge of reckless riding and immediately said he would lodge an appeal.

“I won’t be pleading guilty to reckless riding, that’s for sure,’’ Oliver said.

“I’m sure it was not reckless. Dean Yendall was never near heels and never in danger.’’

Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said the Oliver clearly pushed out at the 700m causing severe interference to Dean Yendall and Ken’s Dream.

“Your actions passing the 700m showed a clear sign of intent to come out and your actions are in our view reckless, outing the safety of both Dean Yendall and Ken’s Dream at high risk,’’ Bailey said.

Oliver responded “I’m stuck on the fence behind stablemates on a short-priced favourite, you and the punters would be asking “what are you doing?’’

The Andre Fabre trained Vadamos is on the third line of betting for the Cox Plate at $15 with Ladbrokes.com.au behind the hot pot Winx at $1.90 and the in-form Hartnell at $3.

If Oliver’s appeal fails he will also miss the rich Derby Day program on Saturday October 29 but will be back to ride in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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