LEADING trainer Leon Corstens said yesterday he had no issue booking Damien Oliver to ride his Thousand Guineas second favourite Commanding Jewel tomorrow, despite connections of other group 1 hopefuls deserting the jockey.
Corstens said he hadn't given the engagement a second thought, maintaining the champion jockey had ''been through far tougher adversity in the past''.
''I would have liked to have trained as many group 1 winners as he [Oliver] has ridden,'' he said. ''If my owners are happy, I'm happy.''
Prominent owner Lloyd Williams dumped Oliver from his Cox Plate contender Green Moon after booking the rider just 24 hours earlier.
It has been alleged that Oliver had a $10,000 bet on a horse called Miss Octopussy, who won at Moonee Valley in 2010. Oliver was on the second favourite in that race, Europa Point.
As fallout from the betting scandal continues, it has been revealed the champion jockey was replaced on Caulfield Cup contender My Quest For Peace because he was not viewed as the right rider for the job.
OTI Racing director Terry Henderson was straight to the point yesterday when asked why Oliver was dumped just hours after The Sunday Age reported the betting allegations.
''We made a decision to get the best rider we could for the race, and we chose Corey Brown,'' he said.
Henderson would not comment on whether the report had influenced OTI's decision, but made his views clear on the negative press that racing has received in recent months.
''It is for others to decide, what happens from The Age article,'' he said.
''We simply made the best decision for the horse, and on the article I will be making no comment.
''Any negative news for racing is not good, this industry runs on very ethical standards and it must stay this way. There is no endemic problem in the industry, but whether this is an isolated case I don't know.''
Craig Williams, who was involved in a jockey merry-go-round of his own on Sunday, said he could empathise with Oliver and said the riding fraternity would support him while he dealt with the allegations.
''Of course it is disappointing, especially at this time of year,'' he said. ''We want the sport to be painted in the best light. I certainly can [empathise] with him and other jockeys like Chris Symons, who has two plates in his foot. When jockeys miss out you feel for them.''
Oliver has four rides at tomorrow's Thousand Guineas meeting at Caulfield. Apart from Commanding Jewel in the three-year-old fillies' classic, he will partner Tens All Round for trainer John McArdle, the Tony Vasil-trained The Wingman, and Cascabel for Robbie Griffiths.
The allegation against Oliver stems from police inquiries into race-fixing that have implicated several jockeys, including the recently disqualified Danny Nikolic, and are being investigated by racing stewards.
Stewards have confirmed they have two ongoing investigations - the Smoking Aces inquiry involving Nikolic, and the allegation against Oliver.
Racing Victoria said that as the investigations were ongoing, it would make no further commen