Hindsight is everything along the fine line of whether a jockey is charged for a bad ride.
Racing Victoria stewards have charged three jockeys — Noel Callow, Zac Spain and Mitch Aitken — in recent weeks with failing to take all legal measures to get the best possible result for their mounts.
Callow was charged in November while Spain and Aitken were charged earlier this month.
In all three cases, stewards took weeks to decide whether the three rides in question merited charges. Racing Victoria chief steward Robert Cram says the stewards need the time to look at all angles of a race.
“We have a look at whether it’s a misjudgment by the rider or a mistake been made compared to other decisions that weren’t in the interests of the horse in the race,” Cram said.
“It’s a decision stewards come to based on the explanations of riders and one that’s based on the evidence. The trainer would also be questioned and we look at the wagering and the form of the race and the horse in that race.”
Veteran jockey Noel Callow was charged in November. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
But Cram said there was no set criteria for deciding which rides attract charges but many factors were considered.
“The line has to be determined by the stewards after hearing the evidence to determine whether the rider was culpable, in other words, they were not a victim of circumstances on the day,” he said.
However, Victorian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Matthew Hyland said stewards had plenty of time to make their judgments while riders don’t have that option in races.
Zac Spain (above), along with Callow and Mitck Aitken are facing charges related to losing rides. Picture: Ross HolburtSource:Getty Images
Hyland said it was always difficult to accept riders being charged for mistakes during “a bad day at the office”.
“It’s tough on them when a bad day at the office can result in a charge,” Hyland said.
“The stewards have had a month analysing the ride and reviewing the race but the jockey never had that opportunity while they were out there on the day.
“Jockeys don’t have the benefit of analysing videos and decision making over a period of time. Jockeys have split seconds to make decisions.”
Horse Racing: With only a few strides to go the heavily backed favourite has slammed on the brakes leaving punters heartbroken….
Horse Racing: With only a few strides to go the heavily backed favourite has slammed on the brakes leaving punters heartbroken.
Hyland said even the best jockeys in the business are capable of making a mistake in a race, especially when trying to steer a 500kg animal around at track at 60km/h.
“It’s like a football match. You’ve got weigh up the instructions, weigh up to the tempo and actually riding the horse,” Hyland said.
“Everyone has bad days at work and it’s ridiculous to think they are going to get every ride right.
“Nobody is more critical on jockeys than themselves and their own rides.”
Except punters on social media perhaps.
Originally published asTime warp: Hindsight a fine line for jockey charges
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