"Damien Oliver should stand down from riding immediately following a report in this morning's Fairfax press alleging that he admitted last month to authorities to the charge of betting on a rival runner. Failing that, connections of cup favourite Americain should do the racing public and the great tradition of the Melbourne Cup a big fat favour and remove Oliver from the ride.Read our updated story over at the ABC's The Drum.
These latest claims cut to the very heart of our story on Friday. Corrupt activity and the administrators who appear unable to deal with it in a timely and transparent manner are doing the Australian turf untold damage."
After we published on November 2 and before this morning's revelations, Racing Victoria Ltd responded to questions we put with this: "Racing Victoria's investigation into jockey Damien Oliver is ongoing, and we will not be commenting on any matters relating to it at this stage."
No wonder RVL have nothing to say; they were apparently sitting on a powderkeg which, because of their own refusal to be open and transparent and accountable to the racing public, has blown up in their face on the one day of the year when they have the undivided attention of the nation and turf fans all over the world.
RVL have not responded to calls but chief steward Terry Bailey said this morning his panel won't be acting in order to protect the "procedural fairness" of an "independent stewards panel" already investigating the matter. If RVL stewards were truly independent they would step in and stand down Oliver until the damaging allegations surrounding him are answered in a full and open public inquiry, not behind the Stewards Door away from prying eyes.
Racing Minister Napthine has also put out a statement wiping his hands of this mess: "Racing Victoria is independent of Government and its integrity systems must be allowed to operate without interference from the Victorian Government. ... It would be totally inappropriate for me to comment on this investigation until it has concluded."
Godot will have come and gone and we will still be waiting for transparent action on corruption in racing under the current regime in Victoria.
Read our full story over at the ABC's The Drum.