Australia’s Melbourne Cup runs under controversial circumstances

by Punter's Hero on November 8, 2012

in Latest News, Other Sport

The Melbourne Cup horse race has been hit with a betting scandal as it’s been revealed that Australian jockey Damien Oliver once made a wager on another horse. Oliver, who rode Americain during the race, now faces a lengthy suspension from the sport. This has cast a dark shadow over the running of the Melbourne Cup on Nov. 6, which is recognized as the most famous and richest thoroughbred race in the country. What has made matters worse for many fans is that Oliver, who’s a former winner of the event, was still allowed to participate in the race.

Oliver, who rode Media Puzzle to the winner’s circle back in 2002, allegedly admitted to stewards of placing a $10,000 wager on rival horse Miss Octopussy two years ago in a local race. Horse racing stewards are now looking into the illegal bet while the 40-year-old jockey and Mark Van Triet, his manager, have declined to comment any further on the incident. Racing Victoria (RV), which is the local governing body, said the investigation into the betting incident would be completed around mid-November.

Oliver rode Americain to 11th place in this year’s Melbourne Cup as the race was won by Green Moon. Americain won the event in 2010 and was one of the favourites to repeat again this year. Gerry Harvey, who owns the horse, said he didn’t consider changing jockeys for the race even though he knew Oliver’s participation would create an uproar.

It was reported that two other jockeys in this year’s Melbourne Cup were also under investigation as racing authorities are trying to stamp out corruption in the sport in the southern Australian state of Victoria. Denis Napthine, who is the racing minister in Victoria, said racing fans were guaranteed that the race was reasonable and fair and that they could make their wagers with confidence.

However, many critics feel the government should give racing officials the power to ban jockeys and other racing participants while they’re under investigation for possible corruption. They point out that it’s not fair that they can participate in the nation’s most prestigious horse racing event until they’ve proven their innocence. Those who are against allowing Oliver to continue racing while the investigation is ongoing say that Racing Victoria lacks the courage to ban him and the issue should have been dealt with before the Melbourne Cup.

However, many people believe Oliver has already admitted his guilt on illegal betting and Racing Victoria hasn’t done anything about it. This has tainted this year’s Melbourne Cup and they feel that the racing commission should also be punished along with Oliver since it allowed him to race in the event.

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