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It's time to get over Oliver's mistake and move on

 Nov 30 2012

It's time to get over Oliver's mistake and move on

Sky Sports Radio's Rod Gallegos wants a final word on the Damien Oliver saga and hopes those with no ongoing interest in the racing industry take heed.


At the risk of once more spitting into the wind, I have to have a final few words on the Damien Oliver soap opera emanating from his "dastardly deed" of betting, and the subsequent reaction of suggesting a minimum two-year disqualification for any future transgressors.

Accepting the fact that Oliver broke the rule and taking into account the odious odour of him actually backing a horse other than the one he was riding, it needs to be asked if the offence is worth two years disqualification. Betting hardly equates with doping a horse or, worse still, riding a "dead-un". (More politely, preventing a horse from running on its merits).

It shouldn't amaze, but it does, that when there is a newsworthy transgression in racing a hoard of commentators, including those who may never have had a bet in their life or would struggle to know which end of a horse eats and kicks, all have an opinion.

From the rooftops they screeched that the Oliver penalty was not harsh enough. Eight months disqualification and a further two months suspension, conceivably and conservatively could cost a rider of Oliver's calibre about $500,000 in earnings.

And remember this: a jockey has a relatively brief professional career. And the physical risks are dire.
Unfortunately, it is said that racing is 10 per cent fact and 90 per cent perception. And the sad fact of life is that the perception always leans heavily towards the shady side.

Australia's trainers of thoroughbreds continue to be irked by European horses plundering the riches of the Melbourne Cup, our premier horse race.

Now they should hope and pray that the quarantine conditions that keep the Japanese away continues unabated.

At only two previous assaults on the Melbourne Cup, the Japanese finished unplaced in 2006 with Eye Popper but a year later landed the quinella with Delta Blues and Pop Rock.

Judging by the dominant manner the locals ran the trifecta in the Japan Cup (Gentildonna, Orfevre and Rulership), they humiliated the strong European opposition. Stayers from the land of the rising sun would eclipse completely our Melbourne Cup contenders.

Clearly the Japanese have made an art form of breeding top stayers. A pity we didn't have the same forethought.

Well, for the present, the champagne and caviar racing is over but there is nothing wrong with the beer and biscuits racing because the dividends are similar.

It's a long way from Taree to Tasmania but trainer Ross Stitt is plotting a return trip for his evergreen galloper Youthful Jack.
On Saturday, Youthful Jack will be partnered by similarly evergreen jockey Robert Thompson in the Sharp Flying as a prelude to a repetition of his campaign earlier this year for three Listed Race wins in Tassie.

Youthful Jack has been primed for a first-up coup with a recent barrier trial win at Taree and although burdened with 59 kilograms, he is nicely drawn in barrier three.

It may not be another Viewed, but Mr Edison is the vehicle for legendary Bart Cummings and Blake Shinn to chalk up another success, albeit a Benchmark 85 Handicap, at Warwick Farm.

A winner of six races from 1400 metres to 2000 metres, Mr Edison put the writing on the wall for another success at his latest run when he got to the line keenly at the end of 1500 metres at Rosehill to finish a close second to Bay Window a fortnight ago. The extra 100 metres should be to his advantage.

At Caulfield, the former Sydney-based apprentice Chad Schofield will continue to make his mark for new boss David Hayes. With a valuable two kilogram allowance, Schofield has rides in all eight events but indicative of his appeal, only four are for his master. Schofield's claim may be particularly useful on one of his "outside rides", Under The Leaner, in race three.

Trained by Tony Vasil, Under The Leaner will be fitter for three runs since a spell, the most recent was at Moonee Valley last Friday week when he finished unplaced. He doesn't have a bad strike rate with two wins and four minor placings from nine starts. Dropping to 55.5 kilograms on his home track, he gets his chance to enhance his winning strike rate.



By Rod Gallegos

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