Jockey ponders the 13 million dollar question

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 September, 1996, 12:00am

Mick Kinane was last night wondering what had happened to the decimal point in the most famous figure in world racing - US$13 million. The 10-time Irish champion jockey said the sum of money had been so staggeringly large that 'it simply lodged in my mind. It is certainly the sum that I vividly recall.' Kinane, who rides for the next five days at the final festival meeting of the summer in Ireland at Listowel, is uncertain of his exact return date to Hong Kong.

But he will be happy to see the end of the publicity barrage over the May 31 hearing. Having seen a copy of the Jockey Club's official response to his authorised biography, Kinane said: 'I have no desire to prolong this issue, but on the question of confidentiality I strongly believe that that disappeared once the Jockey Club requested me to come halfway round the world for what would normally have been a routine matter. 'I was never given the slightest indication that my licence would be in any doubt and when it emerged that it was, I was placed in an extremely awkward situation in Ireland and Britain. 'The questions that were asked in the Licensing Committee inquiry could all have been put to me before I left Hong Kong - and not in the glare of international media attention. That was brought about by the Jockey Club's decision to request my attendance at the May 31 meeting,' he stressed.

Kinane, winner of more big races in the world than any other rider, was at pains to point out that he was concerned about racing integrity. He said: 'I would never compromise the integrity of racing in Hong Kong or anywhere else.

'Some of my actions and decisions over the past five years should show that I have been totally supportive of Hong Kong racing and its well-being. 'When it comes to the US$13 million, all I can say is that somewhere along the line a decimal point has changed position. The size of the sum, staggering as it obviously was, simply lodged in my mind. It is certainly the sum that I vividly recall being mentioned. 'It is my intention to return to Hong Kong in mid-October to ride for a final season for David Oughton. I hope this matter has now ended so I can get on with enjoying a season in a racing jurisdiction I have appreciated for five years,' he said. Retaining trainer Oughton said last night: 'I hope this is the end of the matter all round. 'I don't want to pick up the newspaper and read these kind of headlines about Michael Kinane. 'I just want him back here so that we can get on with the job. The headlines I want to read are about him riding doubles or trebles for me.'