Damien Oliver’s decorated riding career has been recognised by Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) with the naming of an award in his honour.

To be given annually, the Damien Oliver Award is to acknowledge an up-and-coming Western Australian apprentice who has shown dedication and passion in all aspects of their riding and training during each respective season.

The Damien Oliver Award is open to race riding apprentice jockeys only and will be assessed against the following criteria: quality and performance, passion and dedication, riding consistency and their attitude towards health and wellbeing.

Regarded as one of Australia’s greatest-ever jockeys, Perth-born Oliver commenced his apprenticeship in Western Australia under the tutelage of his step-father, Lindsay Rudland before accepting an invitation to go to Melbourne with Lee Freedman.

Inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame in 2008, Oliver is one of a select few riders to win the ‘grand slam’ of Australian racing: the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper.

He won the Melbourne Cup on Doriemus (1995) and Fiorente (2013), but is best remembered for his emotional victory on Media Puzzle (2002), just a week after the tragic death of his brother, Jason in a fall at Belmont.

Last June in Brisbane, Oliver collected his 128th Group 1 win on Amokura in the Queensland Oaks, extending his lead over George Moore, who retired in 1971 after holding the record for decades.

Oliver said he was proud and honoured to have an award named in his honour.

“It’s a huge thrill,” Oliver told The Races WA.

“Obviously I’m a proud West Australian and it’s where I started my career.

“Although I haven’t ridden there a lot throughout my career I always enjoy coming home and I certainly have never forgotten where I came from.

“Even though I’ve had success throughout Australia and internationally, I’m very proud of the fact that it all started for me in WA.

“There  have been a number of young jockeys follow my path over the years, we’ve got some great West Australian representation like Mark Zahra, Freddie Kersley and Damian Lane.

“A lot of them have come over to Victoria and furthered their careers and done very well.

“I feel very humbled having an award recognised in my name, it’s a huge honour while I’m still riding.

“It’s a nice legacy to have.”

The Damien Oliver Award will be announced at the 2022-23 Perth Apprentice Racing Awards on Monday, September 4.

Julio Santarelli