Damien Oliver was back on track and immediately back on top on Friday as he resumed the stellar career he almost ruined when he messed up in one of the worst ways a jockey can.
Oliver returned to riding at Geelong and at his first ride since he began a 10 month ban, he landed Lion Of Belfort an impressive winner of the opening race.
“I’m just happy to be back, obviously,” Oliver said.
“I’m coming off a decent break, but I’m ready.”
Oliver’s career derailed at the end of last spring when it was revealed he had bet $10,000 on a horse at Moonee Valley one night in October 2010.
The horse, Miss Octopussy, won and Oliver finished behind it on the second favourite Europa Point.
The champion rider doubled his money in the exercise but it has cost him millions in legal fees and missed opportunities.
Oliver chose to resume at the earliest opportunity, preferring to make his comeback at Geelong rather than wait for Saturday’s big meeting at Moonee Valley where he will be reacquainted with his last Group One Winner, Happy Trails, in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
His reintroduction to race riding could hardly have been smoother with Lord Of Belfort, the $1.40 favourite, scoring by five lengths.