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Jockey Banned By Turf Club For Four Days For Punching Racehorse

Jockey Davy Russell was banned from racing for four days for punching the racehorse Kings Dolly on the back of the head at Tramore on 18 August 2017.

Mr Russell was initially cautioned by the Referrals Committee of the Turf Club for a breach of Rule 272(i) of the Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules (the “Rules”) by acting in a way that was prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horse racing. In his defence, Mr Russell stated that the horse was not paying attention as it approached a trial hurdle before the start of the race. He stated that it would have been inappropriate to use his whip or to let the horse jump the trial hurdle as he would have been in breach of the rules. He stated that he used his fist to hit the horse on the soft part of the horse’s neck just behind the head to make the horse concentrate. Mr Russell accepted his actions were inappropriate.

The Irish National Hunt Steeplechase (INHS) Committee lodged an appeal, as provided for by Rule 27(i) of the Rules, to review Mr Russell’s sanction on the grounds it was unduly lenient. The Turf Club Appeals Body (“Appeals Body”) met on 5 September 2017 to consider the appeal. Evidence was heard from Mr Russell and a transcript of the referral hearing and film of the incident were reviewed by the Appeals Body. 

The Appeals Body imposed a four day ban from racing on Mr Russell having found that the offence was in the middle range. Having considered that the loss of four race days would have a significant financial impact on a jockey, the Appeals Body decided not to impose a fine on Mr Russell.

Contributed by Craig Sowman

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