Banned … Damien Oliver winning on Happy Trails, centre, at Flemington during the spring carnival.BANNED jockey Damien Oliver will attend next month’s New Zealand yearling sales in Auckland.
The disgraced hoop, banned for 10 months, with two suspended, for having a $10,000 bet at Mooney Valley in 2010, had sought clarification about his sentence from Racing Victoria stewards.
Oliver asked steward Rob Montgomery, who chaired his case, if he was permitted to be present at one of Australasia’s premier yearling auctions at Karaka. ”It was just a matter of Damien asking if a yearling sale was off limits to a disqualified person, which it isn’t, as it is not held on a racetrack or at a racing stables,” Montgomery said.
Racing Victoria has indicated it will make a statement on Wednesday into matters involved in the Oliver disqualification. It is understood the release might involve former AFL footballer Mark Hunter, who placed the bet on Oliver’s behalf.
In other news, trainer Rick Hore-Lacy was on Sunday playing down reports that the debut victory by two-year-old Clevadude at Cranbourne on Saturday night was the performance of a horse that could be the best he’s had. Clevadude, a $225,000 graduate from the Magic Millions sale on the Gold Coast, recorded an effortless win, prompting the trainer to target the Magic Millions Classic and Golden Slipper.
”It’s a bit of a stretch to say that Clevadude is the very best horse I’ve ever trained. I’ve had some very good ones, and while this bloke is a good horse, he’s got a long way to go,” Hore-Lacy said. ”He’s a very quiet horse who’s adapted to racing perfectly.”
Hore-Lacy has already won a Golden Slipper, with Canny Lad in 1990, and many believe he could have collected two more had luck been on his side.
He prepared the outstanding Redoute’s Choice, but the colt’s hopes of a Golden Slipper success were thwarted when he became sick 12 hours before the race. Redoute’s Choice has gone on to be one of Australasia’s finest stallions.
”Clevadude has done what all of my very, very good horses have done, like Redoute’s Choice, Canny Lad, Toorak Toff, that win a jump-out by missing the start, circling the field and winning,” Hore-Lacy said. ”Last Tuesday I trialled him at Caulfield, and it wasn’t much of a trial as he just bolted in. The timing wasn’t ideal as his first race start was just four days away, but I had to do it to fit the program.”
Clevadude will compete at Mooney Valley in a fortnight before heading to the Gold Coast to compete in the $2 million Magic Millions two weeks later. If successful, Hore-Lacy then intends to ease up on Clevadude and aim him at the Golden Slipper.
”It’s early days yet. He’s got to win at Mooney Valley, probably, to get him into the Magic Millions, so we’ll take it from there. But I think it’s a bit much, asking him to run in the Magic Millions and then go to the Blue Diamond and after that the Golden Slipper.
”You can’t do it all, so after the Gold Coast we’ll look at easing him, and with the Golden Slipper at Easter, it gives you a little room to move.”
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