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Damien Oliver banned over illegal bet

Disgraced jockey Damien Oliver is disqualified for eight months after admitting to placing a $10,000 bet on a rival horse in a race in which he rode in 2010.

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DISGRACED jockey Damien Oliver has been disqualified for eight months after admitting to placing a $10,000 bet via a third party on a rival horse in a race in which he rode in 2010.

Oliver has received a further two months' suspension for using a mobile phone in the area of the jockeys' room against the rules.

Oliver broke down as he admitted to stewards he had placed the bet on a horse against which he was riding in a race at Moonee Valley two years ago, with former Western Bulldogs player and form analyst Mark Hunter named for the first time as the man who put the bet on for him.

The 40-year-old cited psychological stress, injury and the likely breakdown of his marriage as factors for what his counsel, Robert Richter, QC, described as ''a single, isolated lapse of judgment''.

Stewards gave Oliver an eight-month disqualification to be followed by a two-month suspension, allowing him to return to riding trackwork. During his disqualification, Oliver is banned from racetracks and stables.

After the hearing, Oliver issued a statement apologising to trainers, owners and supporters.

''People must not assume that my misdeed and lack of judgment … reflects on jockeys or the industry broadly,'' he said.

''I ask my fellow jockeys, for whom I have the greatest respect, to forgive my actions.''

In a hearing at Racing Victoria headquarters, the jockey at the centre of the carnival betting storm cut a slim, distressed figure, at times struggling to present his case as his voice cracked with emotion.

Oliver, who has won all four of Australia's greatest races - the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Golden Slipper - has nerves of steel when seated on a horse, but he presented a fragile, emotionally vulnerable persona in the hearing as he re-created the events leading up to the fateful night when he placed the bet on Miss Octopussy, the favourite in a race in which he rode the market's second choice, Europa Point.

Oliver said that he had been under enormous stress because of problems in his marriage to Trish, the mother of his three children. He admitted that at the time he also had a problem with alcohol, was prone to binge drinking sessions and, despite his considerable success on the race track, was losing his self-confidence as a jockey.

He insisted he rode his horse to the best of his ability and gave it every chance to win.

He said that on the night of the race he called Hunter as an ''unplanned'' and ''spur of the moment decision'' and spoke to no other trainers or officials.

Oliver was paid $11,000, he said, as a result of the bet, with the money being passed to him in cash by trainer Robert Smerdon. ''The period around 2010-11 was probably the worst period in my life,'' he said.

Victoria's racing minister, Denis Napthine, called for a review of the handling of the scandal by the state's racing authority.

Fairfax Media revealed that Racing Victoria officials were aware Oliver had made an admission of the bet, but allowed him to continue riding during the spring carnival.

with AAP