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A contrite Damien Oliver will spend 10 months on the sidelines after admitting to a betting offence at a hearing in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The champion jockey pleaded guilty to placing a $10,000 bet on Miss Octopussy in a race at Moonee Valley on October 1, 2010 in which he rode Europa Point.

Miss Octopussy won the race while Europa Point finished sixth.

The jockey told the hearing he placed the bet with well-known form analyst and racing media personality Mark Hunter.

He said at the time he was going through emotional turmoil after his wife had left him, taking his three children.

Oliver said he developed problems with binge drinking and described it as the “worst period of my life”.

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.

Following 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.”

He said he looked forward to resuming his career next year.

Oliver is one of Australia’s most successful jockeys and is one of only seven riders to win racing’s grand slam of the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper.

He was inducted to Australia’s Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.

 
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