'Who better' to educate of pitfalls

THERE is an argument that reformed poachers make the best gamekeepers and ex-computer hackers best benefit society when they are hired as e-crime gurus.

The Victorian Jockeys' Association on Tuesday emerged as champions of a similar counter-intuitive strategy when it suggested that its highest-profile member, the now discredited champion jockey Damien Oliver, be employed by the racing industry as a mentor to young jockeys.

The 10 months on the sidelines Oliver has received, while welcomed by some as a right and proper punishment, is regarded by many as inadequate for the scale of his offence and the fact that his actions cast an enormous shadow over the Melbourne spring carnival.

VJA chief executive Des O'Keeffe argued the sentence fitted the crime, and called on the racing industry to invest more in jockey education to ensure they knew not just that they couldn't bet, but why.

"The industry now needs to embark on an extensive eduction program to reinforce to jockeys why the rules are as they are and why they cannot bet under the rules of racing," O'Keeffe said.

"It needs to be explained to them why integrity in this industry is everything. We need punter confidence, and punter confidence relies on that rule of jockeys not betting being clearly understood.

"To have a person of [Oliver's] calibre and quality mentoring younger people so they don't make a mistake is a great opportunity for the industry."

This story 'Who better' to educate of pitfalls first appeared on The Age.