Champion jockey Damien Oliver has lost a bid to have his reckless riding suspension reduced so he can ride in Saturday’s prestigious Victoria Derby meeting.
A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal judge on Tuesday upheld the 20-meeting suspension, saying it was the minimum appropriate penalty.
“Although no injuries or death in fact resulted, the actions of the applicant created a potential risk of real and grave consequences,” VCAT vice president Judge Pamela Jenkins said.
“It is imperative that jockeys expect to be dealt with severely in terms of such potential risks and not be prepared to take such risks, as the applicant so clearly was prepared to do, in the hope of avoiding serious consequences.”
Jenkins said the 20-meeting suspension was the minimum penalty that was appropriate, given that the safety of riders and horses was paramount.
“In the circumstances I would regard such penalty as the minimum appropriate to give effect to the above sentencing objectives,” she said.
Jenkins has said Oliver displayed a cavalier attitude and reckless indifference to the possible grave consequences when he deliberately rode his mount into another racehorse.
Oliver was outed over his ride on eventual winner Flying Artie in the Blue Sapphire Stakes on October 12, when he angled out from behind the leader and made heavy contact with the horse to his outside, ridden by Dean Yendall
Jenkins said it was a serious example of reckless riding.
She said Oliver’s persistence in pleading not guilty before stewards, the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board and VCAT had sought to minimise his conduct and cast a degree of responsibility on his mount and Yendall.
The judge said Oliver had not been shut out of the entire spring racing carnival and had been given a just and reasonable discount given the time of year and his good riding record.
Oliver, who had five rides booked for Saturday including Flying Artie in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes and Highlad in the Group One Victoria Derby, will return on Melbourne Cup day.