Racing: Leniency for Oliver disputed

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A Racing Victoria panel should have stood down jockey Damien Oliver sooner as it investigated his betting on a rival horse, the state's racing integrity commissioner says.

Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna examined Racing Victoria's investigation of Oliver and found the investigation panel (IP) could and should have stood Oliver down sooner.

"There were a number of occasions when the IP could and should have exercised the power to stand Oliver down prior to November 13, 2012, the date he was stood down," he said in a report tabled in the Victorian Parliament yesterday.

"I am of the view that the decision taken not to do so until Oliver made admissions was too conservative and cautious in the circumstances."

Oliver was banned for 10 months over a A$10,000 bet he placed on a rival horse at Moonee Valley in October 2010.

Oliver met Racing Victoria officials in October over misconduct allegations on the condition that the discussions would take place "without prejudice".

Racing Victoria allowed him to ride in the spring carnival in which he won three group ones, including the Victoria Derby.

Perna said he found no evidence to support speculation Oliver had an agreement with Racing Victoria Ltd that he could ride through the spring racing carnival or receive a limited suspension so he could participate the following spring.

"I have found no evidence that the IP's investigation was deliberately protracted," he said.

Perna recommended racing industry rules be changed to allow stewards to stand a person down at any stage of an inquiry if that person's continued participation in racing undermined the industry's integrity.

He said better information sharing was needed among Victorian police, the racing integrity commissioner and racing controlling bodies.

Premier Denis Napthine, who as Racing Minister ordered the commissioner's review, said the Government supported Perna's recommendations in principle. "We are examining and we will be implementing changes to adopt those recommendations."

Back to matters more immediate and midweek racing in winter is a long way from carnival competition but trainer Peter Moody believes Il Diamante can make the progression.

The 2-year-old filly heads to town for the first time in today's Equine Haven Plate (1000m) at Sandown on the back of an impressive debut victory at Cranbourne.

While Moody believes the spring might come around too soon for Il Diamante, he thinks the daughter of Testa Rossa could develop into a carnival-type filly next autumn.

"It's only winter form but she did all she could do the other day on debut," Moody said. "She's still quite immature physically, but she'll be a nice 3-year-old filly."

Il Diamante firmed from $2 to $1.60 at Cranbourne on June 9 and went on to score by 3 lengths in a 1000m maiden against her own age.

Moody said Il Diamante was still learning to settle but had trained on well.

"It would have been nice if this race was 1100m, but still at 1000m she should be competitive.

"She might have another couple of runs or this could be it for this preparation."

Sandown was rated heavy yesterday, which shouldn't hold any fears for Il Diamante, who won in the same going on debut.


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