Who Rides Almandin In Melbourne Cup? Oliver Appeals Ban

October 30, 2017

Who Rides Almandin In Melbourne Cup? Oliver Appeals Ban

Jockey Damien Oliver is set to appeal his 20-meeting Cox Plate suspension hoping to be allowed to ride the defending champion Almandin in the 2017 Melbourne Cup Tuesday week.

Almandin

Jockey Damien Oliver appeals a 20-meeting suspension that has him missing the 2017 Melbourne Cup ride on defending champion Almandin (pictured). Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

Three-time Melbourne Cup winning hoop Oliver copped a lengthy on Saturday for improper riding aboard eventual sixth-placed Happy Clapper in the Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).

The Cox Plate 2017 saw super mare Winx join Kingston Town with a trio of wins in the weight-for-age classic, the Chris Waller-trained champion fighting off a gallant Humidor in a close finish.

Oliver meanwhile rode the Patrick Webster-trained Happy Clapper and in the post-race analysis by Racing Victoria stewards, was found to have deliberately made contact with rival runner, three-year-old Royal Symphony, to get into a spot with cover running past the 100m mark the first time around the Moonee Valley circuit.

He was handed down a 20-meeting suspension that has him unavailable for the entire four days of the coveted Melbourne Cup Carnival, which begins this Saturday with Victoria Derby Day.

Oliver is also set to mess the ride on the Robert Hickmott-trained Almandin in the Group 1 $6.2 million Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday November 7.

Almandin currently leads all-in Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, the Monsun eight-year-old paying $6.50 to go back-to-back in the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’.

The horse handed owner Lloyd Williams his fifth ‘Loving Trophy’ in 2016 when Kerrin McEvoy rode him to victory from barrier 17 of 24 in the two mile classic.

Oliver was unable to make the 52kg lightweight for the Almandin ride in last year’s Melbourne Cup field, but the horse goes up to 56.5kg for his title defence.

Oliver was booked to ride Almandin in the race this year, which he hopes can still be a reality as the jockey heads to the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board for a hearing on Monday afternoon at 4:15pm (AEDT).

“It will be good for everybody to get it done, get a decision on it, so connections aren’t left wondering for next week,” RV chief steward Terry Baily told RSN on Sunday morning.

Twelve months ago Oliver suffered the same charge for his reckless ride on Flying Artie in the Blue Sapphire Stakes.

He appealed and when denied by the RAD Board, went to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which also failed and saw him miss the 2016 Cox Plate ride aboard Vadamos.

Baily confirmed Oliver is not only appealing the length of this ban, but the overall guilty charge.

“He [Oliver] felt he had a plan in mind to try and get Dean Yendall [Royal Symphony] down to the fence, with the hope to keep Winx in a three-wide position,” Bailey explained.

“Dean Yendall’s instructions, he had others ideas, he wanted to follow the mare which he is entitled to do.”

Oliver said that in a high pressure race like the Cox Plate, there is a lot of “adrenaline rushing” and that he assumed Yendall was heading to the fence and not on the back of Winx.

“It’s a Cox Plate, there’s a lot of adrenaline rushing,” Oliver told stewards on Saturday afternoon.

“Four deep outside Winx, what sort of race would I be riding?

“I thought it was safe to assume that Dean was going to the fence.

“I’ve tried it, it hasn’t worked and he’s pushed me back out.”

Melbourne Cup 2017 second acceptances are out later today, followed by updated odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.

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