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Oliver fails appeal

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

High-profile jockey Damien Oliver will not be allowed to ride in next week's Melbourne Cup after losing an appeal against a 20-race ban following "improper riding" during the Cox Plate.

Racing stewards charged Oliver with the offence after he rode his horse Happy Clapper into Royal Symphony a number of times on the weekend.

The three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey challenged the decision at the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board but the charge was upheld.

Oliver had been set to ride Melbourne Cup favourite and defending champion Almandin next week.

Vision of the Cox Plate race was tendered during the hearing, as well as transcripts of interviews done on the day, and the race results.

Chief Steward Terry Bailey told the board that Oliver directed his horse into Royal Symphony a number of times, in an improper manner which compromised the safety of the horse and rider.

Bailey argued that just because nothing happened, it did not mean the danger was not there.

"We can all see how much pressure that horse was put under and how much it had to endure and the rider too," he said.

Oliver also gave evidence to the board and said he was trying to get in a better position, closer to the rails when the incident occurred.

But he said he did not put anyone in danger, because "horses don't fall from lateral shifts or bumps".

"There is no danger in this incident of anyone falling," he said.

He argued it happened over three seconds and that he did not feel any resistance from Royal Symphony, until the horse pushed him back out wide.

"I haven't turned my horse back into him after that," Oliver said.

Oliver's legal counsel also wanted to compel Dean Yendall to give evidence to the board.

He did not want to speak at the request of Royal Symphony's owners.

But the tribunal decided it did not have the power to make anyone give evidence.

The owners of Melbourne Cup favourite Almandin will now need to scramble to find a replacement jockey.

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