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Oliver still fighting reckless riding ban

Champion jockey Damien Oliver will make another bid to overturn his reckless riding ban in the hope of riding in the prestigious Victoria Derby meeting.

Oliver on Friday lost a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board appeal against the reckless riding charge and failed to have his 20-meeting suspension reduced.

He will now go to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in a bid to return to riding before Melbourne Cup day.

As it stands, Oliver will miss key spring racing carnival meetings worth $11.6 million prize money including the Cox Plate and Victoria Derby day.

Oliver’s solicitor Peter Jurkovsky had tried to get the suspension cut to 17 meetings to allow Oliver to ride on Derby Day.

RAD Board chairman Judge John Bowman said the stewards’ penalty was appropriate.

“We are mindful of the potential loss of earnings but in all the circumstances we are satisfied the penalty imposed by stewards is a fair and reasonable one,” he said.

The suspension means Oliver will miss the ride on French horse Vadamos in the Cox Plate on October 22 and English in the Manikato Stakes the night before.

He would also be expected to have a full book for the Derby day meeting, featuring four Group One races, on October 29.

Barrister Damian Sheales confirmed he would represent Oliver in the VCAT appeal and that the paperwork will be lodged on Monday.

With Sheales and Racing Victoria already involved in other VCAT cases next week, Oliver’s appeal may not be heard until later in the week or even early the following week.

Stewards said Oliver’s actions were reckless at the 700m mark of Wednesday’s Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield on eventual winner Flying Artie when he angled out from behind the leader and made heavy contact with the horse to his outside.

Bowman said Ken’s Dream appeared to go close to crossing his legs and jockey Dean Yendall was temporarily unbalanced, although he did not appear to be in danger of falling.

But he said the bump was significant and the board had no doubt that Oliver’s move was intentional.

Oliver said he had anticipated Blake Shinn on Dalradian would go to the fence after the jockey twice looked to cross him.

“I felt there was going to be some contact with Dean Yendall but I felt it was going to be minimal,” he told the board.

He acknowledged there had been significant contact, more than what he expected, due to the overreaction of his horse coming out.

Oliver said he was disappointed the reckless riding charge was sustained.

“I felt I certainly wasn’t riding in a reckless manner,” he told reporters.

“My record proves over a long period of time that that’s not the case.”

Oliver’s ban begins after Saturday’s Caulfield Cup meeting when he rides Exospheric for Lee and Anthony Freedman in the main race.

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