Champion jockey Damien Oliver will be under a cloud when he rides joint Melbourne Cup favourite Americain.
Media reports say Oliver has admitted to betting on a rival horse in a race in which he was riding, but Racing Victoria officials are remaining tightlipped.
An investigation was launched last month when the allegations surfaced and Fairfax Media reports Oliver has admitted to breaching racing rules by betting $10,000 on Miss Octopussy at Moonee Valley two years ago.
Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines would not comment on the ongoing affair other than to say he expected the investigation to be completed in the next week or so.
Victorian racing minister Denis Napthine said in a statement Racing Victoria operated separately from the government and it would be inappropriate for him to comment.
The news of the investigation caused Oliver to be sacked from the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon in the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
He later picked up the ride on 2010 winner Americain – joint favourite at $7 with last year’s winner Dunaden.
Mt Athos and Red Cadeaux are on the next line of betting at $7.50.
Gerry Ryan, owner of Melbourne Cup favourite Americain, says he has not asked any questions of Damien Oliver regarding the betting scandal.
He says Oliver spoke to him and fellow owner Kevin Bamford and said he was focused on claiming the Cup aboard the 2010 winner.
“Damien did call us and explain to both Kevin and I that this was going to come up,” Ryan told Channel 7.
“He also said that he is focused and won’t let us down.”
A highlight of the Cup will be the attendance of Prince Charles and Camilla.
Trainer Wayne Hawkes hopes he wins so he can have a chat with Camilla.
But There’s a fair bit more on the line than a cheeky chat with the Duchess of Cornwall. Local pride, for one.
As the co-trainer of the biggest Australian hope in the best international field assembled for a Melbourne Cup in its 152 years, Hawkes hopes Maluckyday can go one better than his second place in 2010 and put him in the winner’s circle next to the duchess.
On his second visit to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup, Prince Charles will take a back seat to wife Camilla who will hand over the trophy he gave to the connections of What A Nuisance in 1985.
The royal couple is due to join another 100,000 or so spectators a couple of hours before the Cup, just as forecast showers are predicted to clear for a bright afternoon.
Cups king Bart Cummings has two chances to win his 13th Cup with American horse Sanagas and the enigmatic Precedence, but says Americain is the horse to beat.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also tipped Americain, but admits it wasn’t because of any close study of the form.
“I’m going to go for Americain on the basis that everybody is very focused on the US elections,” she said.
The multinational field includes French, American, Irish, British, German and New Zealand bred horses as the Melbourne Cup has become a major target of the world racing elite.
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