A betting scandal surrounding Victorian jockey Damien Oliver has seen leviathan owner Lloyd Williams dump the hoop for the 2012 Cox Plate ride aboard top fancy Green Moon with last year’s Caulfield Cup winning jockey Craig Williams the replacement.
Oliver, a two time Melbourne Cup winning jockey, was reported to have bet against his horse in favour of putting $10,000 on rival galloper and subsequent winner Miss Octopussy through a third party in a race at Moonee Valley back in October of 2010.
“We can confirm that a race involving Miss Octopussy is the subject of a stewards’ investigation,” Racing Victoria Chief Executive Rob Hines said in a statement on Sunday.
“That investigation is on-going and thus we’ll be making no further comment on it at this time.”
Despite denying any wrongdoing, Oliver has lost the prestigious ride on Montjeu stallion Green Moon in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Saturday week, October 27.
“I have been a jockey for 24 years,” Oliver said in regards to the allegations.
“My record and reputation show me to be honest, committed and trustworthy.
“With regards to the allegations made, I cannot and will not be making any comment, other than to say allegations such as these are damaging and hurtful and that everyone … should have the right to a due process being followed here.
“With that in mind, I’d request that my rights in this area be respected.”
The Robert Hickmott-trained import ran second to Southern Speed in last year’s Caulfield Cup but will bypass the cup this year in favour of a Cox Plate run.
Green Moon is currently sharing favouritism in the Cox Plate odds at bookmaker.com.au paying $4 along with last weekend’s beaten Caulfield Guineas favourite Pierro after a brilliant win in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 6.
Pierro was to have been ridden by Williams in the Cox Plate, the previously undefeated three-year-old still set to back up in the weight-for-age classic before going down to Black Caviar’s half-brother All Too Hard in the Guineas.
Williams however was granted a release from the young colt and will reignite his association with Green Moon who he has ridden for their past four races including the Turnbull win.
“Gai was very fair,” Williams said.
“The key things were Green Moon has 58kg and Pierro has 49.5kg. I could have made Pierro’s weight, but it was going to be tough.
“I thought Pierro’s Caulfield Guineas effort was a good run but I was very impressed with Green Moon’s win in the Turnbull Stakes.
“I’ve been with Green Moon all the way through this spring and he is still improving. I’ve never been on Pierro’s back.”
The loss of Williams has come as a blow for Pierro’s trainer Gai Waterhouse who is now on the hunt for not one but two lightweight jockeys for the Cox Plate.
Pierro and their stablemate Proisir, the Choisir colt also unbeaten until a shock recent loss when defeated by It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Epsom Day, are both on 49.5kg for the Cox Plate.
Proisir is rated a $10 chance in the Cox Plate betting markets.
To check out the full Cox Plate odds and alterations after the weekend’s racing head to bookmaker.com.au and make sure you take advantage of their $400 bonus welcome bet offer by quoting the code BONUSBET during the sign-up process!