Frankie Dettori to ride Melbourne Cup favourite

Posted by Sports News First on 30/10/2017
Filled in: Racing

Frankie Dettori has picked up the ride on defending Melbourne Cup holder Almandin after Damien Oliver lost a bid to resurrect his spring carnival.

Oliver lost his appeal over an improper riding suspension that rules him out of the entire Melbourne Cup carnival.

Oliver said he accepted the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board’s decision.

“I’m obviously disappointed in the result today, to miss the spring carnival,” Oliver told reporters on Monday.

“Myself being a competitive person is what’s made me be able to sustain a long successful career but the board felt that I overstepped this line, which I accept.

“I have total respect for the riders I ride with and would never do anything to put them in danger.”

Owner Lloyd Williams immediately gave Dettori the ride on Almandin, who is the $7 equal favourite with Cox Plate runner-up Humidor.

It is the second spring carnival in a row that Oliver has been hit with an improper riding ban.

This time he was outed for shifting in on Happy Clapper in Saturday’s Cox Plate, causing interference to Dean Yendall on Royal Symphony.

RAD Board chair Judge John Bowman said Oliver used his larger horse to bully Royal Symphony and Yendall off his racing line, posing a potential risk to them.

“We totally reject the proposition that what occurred posed no risk of potential danger to Royal Symphony or Yendall,” he said.

Oliver argued the incident only lasted three seconds and there was no danger or potential for danger, as required for an improper riding charge.

“I don’t agree I put anyone’s safety in jeopardy on this occasion,” he told the board.

Yendall refused to give evidence at the appeal at the request of Royal Symphony’s owners, but told stewards on Saturday that his plan was to follow Winx.

Oliver agreed Yendall was entitled to do so.

“I wasn’t concerned about Winx,” he said. “I was just trying to find a position closer to the rail to give my horse its best opportunity in the race.”

Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said Oliver’s actions constituted improper riding as the incident went on for too long.

“He was mindful of what he was doing,” Bailey said.

“It was intentional. It was deliberate.

“There’s nothing careless about it.”

Oliver missed the ride on Almandin in last year’s Cup because the gelding carried 52kg, under his weight range.

The winning ride went to Kerrin McEvoy while Oliver rode Exospheric, after returning in time for the Melbourne Cup after a month on the sidelines.

Oliver’s suspension began on Monday and runs until November 16.

Almandin’s part-owner Nick Williams tweeted immediately the decision was known that the internationally renowned Dettori had the ride.