Oliver’s reckless riding charge stands

Champion jockey Damien Oliver has lost a bid to downgrade his reckless riding charge with a judge describing his attitude as cavalier.

Oliver still hopes to be allowed to ride at Saturday’s Victoria Derby meeting despite the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal finding him guilty of reckless riding.

VCAT vice president Judge Pamela Jenkins is hearing submissions on penalty on Monday with Oliver hoping to have his 20-meeting suspension reduced.

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.

The judge said Oliver’s actions were calculated and intentional, and had created a clear circumstance of potential risk.

“In my view, the applicant exhibited a cavalier attitude, which is not moderated by his explanation to the effect that jockeys will commonly try to take another horse out, notwithstanding the rules,” Jenkins said.

“The applicant, as a very experienced professional jockey, is aware of the attendant dangers of placing another jockey at risk of falling and the consequential danger to other riders and horses where a fall occurs in front of a field of riders.

“By forcing his mount into the pathway of another jockey and abruptly displacing that jockey and his mount out of the way, the applicant displayed a reckless indifference to the possible grave consequences.”

Jenkins said Oliver displayed a cavalier attitude to the rules of racing, the paramount objectives of which were to ensure the safety of horse and rider.

“If riders continue to test the boundaries in the hope of defying the clear and attendant risks associated with a particular course of action, then the integrity of the rules are undermined and the safety of riders and horses alike become victims of the pursuit of competitive advantage.”

Oliver needs his suspension cut from 20 to 17 meetings to allow him to ride on Saturday, when he has rides booked on Flying Artie in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes and Highlad in the Group One Victoria Derby.

Jenkins will hand down her decision on the penalty at 11.30am on Tuesday.

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