Oliver Outed For 10 Months

Racing Victoria Chairman, Michael Duffy, has issued the following statement into the investigation of Damien Oliver’s bet on Miss Octopussy at Moonee Valley on 1 October 2010;

Following the completion of today’s stewards’ inquiry into breaches of the Rules of Racing associated with a bet placed by jockey Damien Oliver at Moonee Valley in October 2010, Racing Victoria is now in a position to respond to the considerable media and public speculation surrounding this matter.

I believe that the chronology of events issued by the Investigative Committee makes it apparent why public commentary wasn’t possible throughout the course of the Committee’s investigative process.

The Investigative Committee comprised Rob Montgomery, Deputy Chairman of Stewards and James Hitchcock, Stipendiary Steward. Tony Burns, Barrister, was engaged to assist with independent legal advice. The Committee was initially appointed by the Board of Racing Victoria to investigate the race fixing media reports relating to the race won by Smoking Aces.

The Board extended the Committee’s brief to investigate the allegation against Damien Oliver shortly after receipt of an Information Report from the Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, which contained the allegation by an unidentified source.

The key facts set out in the chronology are as follows –

1. On 16 October 2012, the Committee contacted Mr Oliver to make an appointment to conduct an interview. Initially, Mr Oliver was reluctant to be interviewed by the Investigative Committee having regard to his legal right to silence.

2. Notwithstanding that initial position, on 22 October 2012, Mr Oliver’s legal representatives contacted the Committee to commence a series of “without prejudice” discussions. As these discussions were held on a without prejudice basis, the Committee was obliged to maintain the confidentiality of those discussions and not to disclose their content.

3. Throughout the ensuing weeks of the without prejudice discussions between Mr Oliver’s legal representatives and the Committee, the investigation gathered evidence and gave careful consideration as to whether immediate action should or could be taken against Mr Oliver (including standing him down) prior to the laying of formal charges.

4. The Committee formed the view that its best prospects of securing a certain conviction was to obtain an admission of guilt from Mr Oliver. Accordingly, the option of standing Mr Oliver down prior to the laying of charges was not pursued by the Committee on the basis that this would have most likely jeopardised an admission being obtained which would be admissible in any Stewards Inquiry.

5. The Committee also took into account that an admission would most likely provide further evidence in relation to the actions of others.

6. The signed admission was provided to the Committee on the afternoon of Monday 12 November 2012 at which time the Committee was in a position to prepare a brief to support charges being laid against Mr Oliver – which proceeded on the following day.

With regard to the penalty handed down to Mr Oliver today, I note the following;

1. That the only similar and relevant precedent was that of jockey Blake Shinn in New South Wales. In that case Mr Shinn was disqualified for 6 months for betting on a rival horse in a race. In total, he was disqualified for a period of 15 months for many bets, with this aggregate penalty reduced on appeal to 12 months disqualification.

2. Today, in relation to Mr Oliver, Racing Victoria stewards imposed a penalty of 8 months disqualification plus a further 2 month suspension of his licence to ride in races for his $10,000 bet on a rival horse, plus a concurrent 1 month suspension of his licence to ride in races for use of his mobile telephone in the jockeys’ room.

It is my belief that the penalty delivered in today’s stewards’ inquiry was appropriate given the cooperation afforded by Mr Oliver and the matters put forward on his behalf in mitigation of penalty.

The result of today’s stewards’ inquiry has sent a powerful message to the jockey profession that there is a zero tolerance of any breaches of the prohibition on betting.

The matter involving Damien Oliver and Miss Octopussy is now closed. However, it should be noted that the Committee’s inquiries into other matters raised during the investigation are ongoing.

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Guineas glory again for Darley

Peter Snowden affirmed his affinity for the Sportingbet Sandown Guineas when Tatra provided Darley’s head trainer with another win in today’s $350,000 Group 2.

The son of Hussonet emulated fellow Sheikh Mohammed-raced three-year-olds Caymans (2008) and Kidnapped (2009) to give Snowden three wins in the past five seasons in the 1600-metre event.

The colt turned the tables on Lunar Rise, who narrowly defeated Tatra in the Carbine Club Stakes, to score a tenacious win with stablemate Proverb, who ran third in the Carbine Club, again filling the minor placing.

Snowden was thrilled to see a plan hatched early in Spring come to fruition.

“It’s a good race to win, it’s a good money race, but it’s a hard race to keep a horse up for because sometimes the (Melbourne Cup) Carnival empties them out before they get here,” he said.

“These are two horses we identified fairly early in the Carnival. I thought, they’re not A graders, they’re not (Caulfield) Guineas horses, but they’re the next level down and they almost quinellaed it.”

Tatra turned in a fighting display to score a narrow win. He took up prominent position on the rail from his favourable barrier (seven) and raced to front midway down the straight before digging deep to hold on.

The $5.50 chance scored by a long head from Lunar Rise, the $5 favourite, who finished a short-half-head in advance of Proverb ($7).

Darley’s No 1 rider Kerrin McEvoy was full of praise for Tatra after the win, the third of his 11-start career.

“We had a nice trop throughout, I could hear Lunar Rise and the other horse coming at me, but my fella just dug deep,” McEvoy said. “He’s no world beater but he’s a good old grinder and gives his best.

“He’s always shown nice promise, he’s got stronger and better throughout his preparation last time and this time as well. Up on the speed there today he toughed it out well so it was nice to win this race again.”

The Guineas result completed a winning double for Snowden and McEvoy, who earlier won the $120,000 Listed City Of Greater Dandenong Twilight Glow Stakes with Meidung.

Those victories give Snowden 17 Victorian city winners for the season and he now shares the lead with Robert Smerdon in the race for the Victorian Metropolitan Trainers’ Premiership.

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Tanby follows in Zipping’s hoofprints

Macedon Lodge’s fairytale Spring Racing Carnival finished on a high when Tanby won the $350,000 Group 2 Deadly Designs Zipping Classic (2400m).

The ever-improving gelding provided leading owner Lloyd Williams with his sixth win in the race in the past 10 seasons when he claimed the weight-for-age event named after four-time winner Zipping.

Williams’ son Nick considered it the perfect way to end the Carnival that saw Macedon Lodge celebrate Melbourne Cup success with Green Moon.

“It’s great for him to win this race today,” Williams said. “It’s great to win the Zipping Classic.

“He’s a nice horse, he really is. We were keen to get him into the Melbourne Cup, we actually thought if he had have got in there at 53 kilos he had a bit of a chance.

“We think he’s still on the up as a horse.”

The Robert Hickmott-trained gelding rode to a strong win on the back of a patient ride by Nick Hall., who settled towards the rear and waited until just before straightening to peel to the outside, after which Tanby launched a powerful run that took him to the front around 250m from home.

The $7.50 chance quickly opened healthy gap and although Exceptionally ($7.50) charged late, Tanby held on to score by three quarters of a length from the luckless mare, who was trapped three wide for the first 1000m.

Precedence ($9) was 1-3/4 lengths away third, while $2.70 favourite Mourayan battled into fourth, just in advance of Victoria Derby placegetter Rawnaq ($7), who enjoyed a cosy run midfield on the fence but was under pressure before straightening.

Hall, who rode Zipping to the last of his Classic wins in 2010, was thrilled to celebrate another win in the race and said Tanby’s toughness was a key factor in the success.

“Lloyd said to me he had this horse very well, even though he’d been three weeks in a row,” Hall said. “He seems to cop a lot and doesn’t get hurt.

“The main thing we wanted to do today was get him settled and once I had him settled through the run I thought we were a good chance.”

Nick Williams said Tanby would now be put away to be set for the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), a race Macedon Lodge finished second in last season with Efficient.

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Ibicenco’s lucrative Sandown success

It wasn’t the 3200-metre race he was brought to Melbourne for, but Ibicenco got his Spring Racing Carnival two-mile success in today’s Sportingbet Sandown Cup.

The English entire gave champion European trainer Luca Cumani something to smile about the end of a trying Carnival with his victory in the $150,000 Listed event at Sportingbet Park (Sandown).

The OTI Racing-owned five-year-old collected a $100,000 bonus when he rebounded off a luckless Lexus Stakes fourth placing on derby Day to defeat Reuben Percival and Unusual Suspect.

It was Ibicenco’s final start for Cumani, with the German-bred galloper to now join Peter Moody, and OTI Racing’s Terry Henderson said it was a deserved win.

“It’s fantastic for the horse and for all the staff and Luca,” Henderson said. “But he’ll get the sack now Luca, because the horse will go to Peter Moody.

“He’s still a very young horse and the best appears still ahead of him.”

Ibicenco earned more in the 3mins 26.28secs it took him to run the Sandown Cup than he had in his 12 previous career starts.

Along with the $90,000 first prize, Ibicenco collected the $100,000 bonus that was on offer to the Sandown Cup runners who were Melbourne Cup acceptors that didn’t gain a run.

The son of Shirocco, who had earned $127,608 from one wins and five minor placings before coming to Australia, was expertly handled by champion jockey Glen Boss.

The three-time Melbourne Cup winner settled Ibicenco just worse than midfield, popped him three-wide climbing the hill and edged towards the leaders approaching the long straight before taking over midway down the running.

Ibicenco ($3.50) scored by three quarters of a length from Reuben Percival ($9.50) with Unusual Suspect ($51) 1-1/4 lengths back third. Verdant, the $3.10 favourite, was given a sweet ride by Dwayne Dunn but only battled into sixth position.

“I thought I was on the best two-miler in the race – there weren’t too many in it – and it was pretty painless and went to plan,” Boss said.

“The first half-mile was reasonably solid, when they all got their spots, and once I got to the 1400-metre mark the tempo slowed and then they got slower as they went up the hill, which you would naturally expect, so I just popped him out and let him have his head.

“He cruised up the hill off the bridle, just picking them off as he went, and once we got to the 1000-metre mark it was all over.”

Ibicenco now heads to Moody’s Caulfield stable and Henderson said his major autumn aim would be the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in April.

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Caviar claims Cartier

Just days after having one of Australia’s most prestigious sprint races renamed in her honour, Black Caviar has racked up another accolade.

The world champion sprinter has won Europe’s premier award for sprinters.

The six-year-old daughter of Bel Esprit was crowned the winner of the sprint category at the Cartier Awards – Europe’s equivalent of the Australian Racehorse of the Year awards.

The Cartier awards were established in 1991 to reward excellence in horse racing and are determined by points earned in Pattern races, combined with opinions of a panel of racing journalists and votes from readers of the Racing Post and Daily Telegraph.

Black Caviar, who took her record to 22 wins from as many starts in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of the Royal Ascot Carnival, defeated fellow Aussie mare Ortensia, Diamond Jubilee runner-up Moonlight Cloud, Mayson and Wizz Kid for the award.

The premier award, the Cartier Horse of the Year, was again won by Frankel, who became the first horse to win the main award two years in a row.

Black Caviar is close to returning to work ahead of a summer campaign where the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) is a potential target for the champion mare.

The Victoria Racing Club announced on Saturday that the race formerly known as the Lightning Stakes had been named in honour of the champion mare who has won the past two editions of the event.