Michael Walker stood down due to ill-health
- Walker stood down with a medical condition
- Melham fined
- Sydney jockeys asked to please explain
Jockey Michael Walker had his day cut short at Flemington on Saturday after he was stood down by the on-course doctor.
Walker rode the Chris Waller-trained pair of Mazaz (race one) and Dabiyr (race five), finishing third in both races.
After discussions with the on-course doctor, Walker was stood down for the rest of the day.
The 35-year-old jockey’s career has been plagued with back injuries, the most memorable being an episode of back spasms he suffered at Moonee Valley in February 2017.
All was going well for Walker until last Wednesday’s meeting at Sale where he was involved in a four-horse fall.
Walker’s mount Grey Lord came down along with fellow jockeys Chris Caserta, Joe Bowditch and Thomas Stockdale.
Walker suffered whiplash from the fall but took his place in the saddle at Flemington after missing Thursday’s meeting at Pakenham as a precaution.
Substitute riders were found for his remaining three rides of the day.
Meanwhile Ben Melham found himself under notice from the stewards when he was charged with excessive whip use.
Ben Melham (PA Images)
Melham was found guilty of using the whip consecutively on three occasions when driving Heirborn to victory in the second race of the day.
Stewards slapped him with a $300 fine for the offence.
In Sydney, stewards at Rosehill were also kept busy when they called some big-name jockeys in to explain their riding tactics in the Cabra Bowls Benchmark 78 Handicap on Saturday.
The interest was raised after the Bjorn Baker-trained Prime Candidate was backed from $8.50 to $5 and won the event by three-quarters of a length.
Jockeys, Hugh Bowman, Brenton Avdulla and Nash Rawiller all rode beaten horses but were questioned separately over the tactics in the race.
Racing NSW chief stipe Marc Van Gestel told Avdulla, the rider of Oxford Tycoon, “there were a few horses out of position in that race” during questioning.
The Racing NSW stewards pre-race speedmap had Prime Candidate in front with Black Magnum (Rawiller) to the leader’s outside with Oxford Tycoon racing in a three-wide position outside the speed while Deity (Bowman) was back towards the tail of the field.
Once the barriers opened, Deity was the quickest to begin and Bowman allowed the Godolphin mare to stride to take up the running with Prime Candidate settling outside the lead, Black Magnum was in the group behind the leaders, posted three wide while Avdulla went back on Oxford Tycoon which was slow to begin.
— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) August 10, 2019
After receiving answers from the jockeys, stewards adjourned the matter in order to consider other aspects of the race.