Damien Oliver’s ride on the favourite Almandin in the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 7 hinges on the outcome of his appeal today against a twenty-meeting suspension.
Oliver is booked to ride Almandin who is looking to make it back to back Melbourne Cup wins but hit a huge hurdle when stewards found him guilty of improper riding in the run to first turn out of the straight in the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley last Saturday and suspended him until the last meeting on November 16. .
Stewards alleged that Oliver rode his mount, Happy Clapper, in and made heavy contact with Royal Symphony and then continued to apply unnecessary pressure making contact with that colt on a number of occasions.
Oliver’s appeal with a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board is set down for this afternoon at 4:15 and chief steward Terry Baily is pleased that it will be heard today.
“It will be good for everybody to get it done, get a decision on it, so connections aren’t left wondering for next week,” Bailey said on RSN 927’s Correct Weight on Sunday morning.
Oliver is a three times winner of the Melbourne Cup on Doriemus (1995), Media Puzzle (2002) and Fiorente (2013) and another win would put him equal with record-holders Bobbie Lewis and Harry White, who each have four wins in ‘The Race That Stops A Nation.’
Sydney based jockey Kerrin McEvoy rode Almandin to victory in the 2016 Melbourne Cup and the Robert Hickmott trained eight year old is the $6.50 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au for this year’s running of the famous two miler.
Almandin has had three Spring Carnival runs in the lead up to the Melbourne Cup for a first up second in a 2040m Handicap at The Valley followed by a win in the Listed $120,000 Japan Racing Association Trophy (2500m) at Flemington on September 16.
The German import then ran fourth with 60kg on his back to Amelie’s Star in the Group 3 $300,000 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on October 7.
Early betting for the 2017 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6.50 Almandin, $7.50 Humidor, $8 Marmelo, $11 Johannes Vermeer, Red Cardinal, Wall Of Fire, $15 Thomas Hobson, Rekindling, $17 Max Dynamite, $21 Big Duke, $26 Amelie’s Star, Harlem, Single Gaze, $31 Tiberian, Boom Time, $34 Nakeeta, Abbey Marie, Jon Snow, Ventura Storm, Who Shot Thebarman, $41 Hartnell, US Army Ranger, Wicklow Brave, Bondi Beach, $51 or better the rest.