Premiership target alive for Oliver after appeal varied
29th June 2009, 2:52 pm
By Robert Windmill
MELBOURNE, June 29 AAP - Hall Of Fame jockey Damien Oliver has kept his premiership aspirations alive after having a 10-meeting suspension varied on appeal.
Oliver won't ride at Wednesday's meeting at Sandown but will return for Flemington's "Finals Day" on Saturday.
He rode under a stay of proceedings at Flemington on Saturday and was to miss this week's two city meetings after being suspended at Sandown last Wednesday.
His suspension was to expire at midnight on July 5 but was varied to expire on midnight on July 3.
Oliver argued for a severe reprimand but the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board found the charge of careless riding on Tilda in last Wednesday's Siren Song Handicap was proven.
Oliver shifted in on Tilda near the 1800 metres but he argued that Craig Robertson on Bellamo contributed to the incident as he believed it was reasonable to think that Robertson would have eased his mount back given the circumstances.
Three horses, including Bellamo were hampered, but none lost their position.
In varying the penalty, chairman Russell Lewis said the degree of carelessness was "in the lower registers of the low range".
Oliver has ridden 65 city winners this season and took a one win lead over Craig Williams with a double at Flemington.
While mindful of trying to win his eighth jockey premiership, Oliver said Monday's appeal was more about protecting his riding record going into the spring.
He was recently resumed from a suspension in Brisbane and he said he wasn't proud of his riding record in the two years prior to his last Victorian suspension in January this year.
"I have been working hard on that the last 18 months to two years to try and improve and I certainly don't need a careless riding charge hanging over my head coming into the spring carnival," Oliver said.
Oliver had only one ride at Sandown on Wednesday after trainers were reluctant to engage him with an appeal pending.
The champion jockey said he would take a 10-day holiday from next Sunday and return for the last two weeks of the racing season which ends on July 31.
Oliver has won the jockeys' premiership seven times while arch-rival Williams is trying for his fourth title in a row.
Williams has six rides at Sandown on Wednesday - Status Fraction, The Zeustar, Lady Lisbon, Chiefcomingfirst, Molexio and Cameo Minx.
AAP TURF rw/cw