Yes, Damien Oliver really is under investigation by Stewards. *
***Is Damien Oliver really under stewards investigation for allegedly making a secret bet on a rival? Racing Victoria has still made no such public admission. Focusing on just the Oliver allegation, let's revisit the timeline to reveal RVL's apparent mission to keep the racing and betting public as much in the dark as possible.
On August 15, Hines released a statement reacting to a report in the Fairfax papers that an an unamed jockey "bet thousands of dollars on a rival horse to win in a race in which he was riding". Hines said RVL:
"...has no knowledge of the allegation in today's Fairfax newspapers regarding a jockey wagering on another horse in the same race and is not aware of the source of this allegation."On September 7, RVL put out a release promoting Oliver's "awesome" book of rides at Flemington:
"Oliver knows better than anyone what it takes to win the Let's Elope Stakes, having scored the first of his five wins in the race with Mannerism 20 years ago."On October 14, reacting to new The Age allegations that Oliver placed a secret $10,000 bet on a rival mount, Hines released a statement in which he made no specific reference to Oliver, and admitted only that Stewards were investigating the race in question, won by Miss Octopussy.
"That investigation is on-going and thus we’ll be making no further comment on it at this time.”That same morning Adrian Dunn revealed on TV's Racing Review that: "Well, it's a Pandora's Box, because this was all supposedly going to be happening AFTER the Spring Carnival, it's now right in the middle of the Spring Carnival."
On October 22 The Herald-Sun's Matt Stewart had a small item noting:
"A Melbourne barrister has joined the three-man Damien Oliver taskforce as an "honorary steward". Former detective and police prosecutor Tony Burns has joined senior stewards Rob Montgomery and James Hitchcock on the Oliver case."This is the first and only reference in print we can find to any official investigation into the Oliver "case", and the only with any reference to details of process. RVL has made no statement whatsoever about the processes it is undertaking in this matter.
On October 27, last Saturday RVL put out a release about Oliver gaining the Melbourne Cup ride on Americain.
"Oliver had been booked to ride My Quest For Peace, but was relieved of the ride aboard the Luca Cumani-trained galloper after details that he was the subject of a stewards investigation, as revealed in The Sunday Age, were made public."Breathtaking that in three months RVL has made no specific public admission that Oliver is under investigation, except to say it was reported that he is.
And the jockey himself has asked the media to respect the process: what process? How is delaying this of any good to the image of racing during a Spring Carnival?
What if Oliver pulls off the ultimate reprise to Media Puzzle and wins the Cup Tuesday week aboard Americain?
UPDATE: Yes, Damien Oliver really is under investigation by RVL Stewards.