Cassidy loses his fight to overturn 12-meeting riding ban
Experienced local trainer Alex Wong Siu-tan yesterday said he was 'very disappointed' after his jockey, Larry Cassidy, had his appeal against a 12-meeting riding ban dismissed.
Cassidy, a former New Zealand champion apprentice based in Sydney before coming to ride for Wong at the start of this season, incurred the race-meeting stewards' wrath for failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing on Jacko at Sha Tin on Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe night almost three weeks ago. Wong said: 'We're all very disappointed as we thought we had a good case with new evidence to present to the appeals panel.
'Honest to God, I think we did and the boy did nothing wrong except not to know the Hong Kong procedure.
'He should have reported his thoughts to the vet as well as to the stipendiary stewards, as he came back and complained like hell to my assistant trainer about the way the horse felt. As for Jacko, he's a nine-year-old. Why should I be saving him for anything later on? 'It is a bonus just to have this horse fit and to be able to race him. He could be unsound tomorrow and unable to race.' It is understood that Cassidy did make a report to the deputy chief stipendiary steward, Christopher Lee, but referred only to an incident at the 800-metre marker.
Wong has told Cassidy to forget about the whole thing and to go and take a holiday. The suspension takes immediate effect and rules him out of riding in the International events on December 8, the last day of the penalty. 'I feel really sorry for the guy so I've managed to find him two return tickets and I've said to him to go away and enjoy himself for a couple of weeks with his wife,' Wong said.
'There's no point staying here and being miserable watching other jockeys win on the horses he should be riding. I've told him to come back fresh and happy with this thing entirely out of his mind.' In the meantime, Wong will be offering the bulk of his rides to a combination of Basil Marcus, Piere Strydom and Douglas Whtye as the South African riders continue to dominate the local scene.
'I got on very well with Piere last season and imagine he will be on most of them as Basil is retained by Ivan [Allan] and Douglas is doing a lot of riding for Wong Tang-ping,' Wong said. Meanwhile, the latest running and riding inquiry may not be concluded on Sunday.
The inquiry centres on the running and riding of Gold Capture, sixth to Laureate in a local riders' event at Happy Valley last Saturday.
The confirmed stayer was ridden by Andy Ko and trained by Wylie Wong, and he may turn out again this Sunday in an ideal Classes Three and Four 2,000-metre handicap. But because the race-meeting stewards want to interview all the riders and trainers involved in the race, it is thought that it will almost certainly have to be adjourned for a third time. It is also possible that as a result of this inquiry the whole concept of local riders' races could be threatened.