ThoroughBred Racing

Damien Oliver set to retire

Damien Oliver set to retire

Damien Oliver is set to retire at the place where it all began as the 51-year-old calls time on one of the most decorated careers in Australian racing.

Oliver revealed he would bring an end to his career after the Perth Carnival in December though he had apparently considered simply riding off into the sunset.

“I thought I just wanted to retire quietly with no fanfare and not having a long send-off because that’s not my sort of style,” he told Racenet on Tuesday.

 

Damien Oliver is set to retire at the place where it all began as the 51-year-old calls time on one of the most decorated careers in Australian racing.

Oliver revealed he would bring an end to his career after the Perth Carnival in December though he had apparently considered simply riding off into the sunset.

“I thought I just wanted to retire quietly with no fanfare and not having a long send-off because that’s not my sort of style,” he told Racenet on Tuesday.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 30: Damien Oliver is seen after announcing that he will be retiring at the end of this year at a press conference at Sandown racecourse on August 30, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
Damien Oliver has retired. Credit: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

“But I spoke to my family and friends and it would have been a bit of a selfish way to go out. Over the last couple of years I’ve been thinking about retirement, maybe more prompted by the media than anything else.

“I had a bit of a break in winter and I wasn’t sure if I was going to go on for another spring carnival.

“But after a holiday I felt refreshed and was keen to do another spring. Perth is where it all started for me, so I will finish up there.”

Oliver has ridden a record 128 Group 1 winners with more than 3000 wins overall since his first in Bunbury at the 1988 AJC Warwick Stakes.

All eyes will now be on a fairytale finish and if Oliver can achieve a record-equalling fourth Melbourne Cup and his first in a decade since bringing home Fiorente in 2013.

“I have been riding across five decades and look forward to saying farewell at my final Melbourne Cup Carnival,” Oliver said in a statement.

Damien Oliver celebrates on Media Puzzle after the 2002 Melbourne Cup.
Damien Oliver celebrates on Media Puzzle after the 2002 Melbourne Cup. Credit: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

“Flemington has been a place that has provided me with some of my greatest career highlights. I will forever cherish my three Melbourne Cup wins, in particular the emotional win aboard Media Puzzle.”

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to say thank you to those people who have supported me throughout my entire career.”

The back page of The West Australian from Oliver's maiden triumph
The back page of The West Australian from Oliver’s maiden triumph Credit: The West Australian Sport

Chairman of the Victoria Racing Club Neil Wilson had high praise for Oliver and his achievements.

“He has proved time and time again that he is one of the greatest riders to have ever graced the sport,” Mr Wilson said.

“His resilience, athletic prowess and tactical brilliance allowed him to stay at the top of his game over a career that spanned more than five decades.”