Williams banned for concealing injury
Craig Williams has been slapped with a six-meeting ban for failing to report a significant shoulder injury last month.
Stewards had originally questioned Williams over his handling of Present Treasure at Happy Valley on October 20, but the matter turned down a different path last week when Williams revealed he had unknowingly ridden for almost two weeks with a fracture to his left shoulder, which restricted his arm action.
'It seems a long suspension considering the circumstances and the charge. With riding being so competitive this season, it is hard to miss that many races,' a disappointed Williams said yesterday. 'But I have to look at it as positively as I can. Due to the injury, I wouldn't have been riding this next couple of meetings anyway so I'll take an extra rest, be sure the shoulder is properly healed and I'll be back keener than ever in a couple of weeks.'
Yesterday's hearing was the fourth sitting in their inquiry and stewards took further evidence from Williams and also Dr David Owens, whom the jockey had consulted after hurting his left shoulder in a track fall on October 12.
When X-rays showed no breaks, Williams assumed any discomfort was due to soft tissue injuries but the injury was aggravated on October 17 when his mount, Blue Stitch, nearly fell and wrenched downward on the reins. Williams continued to ride but the pain became progressively worse.
The stewards' release yesterday said Williams had submitted a certificate of his fitness to ride prior to the October 17 meeting and 'did not inform any official of the Club of such aggravation at any time prior to riding Present Treasure in the Jackson Handicap run at Happy Valley on Wednesday, October 20, 2004'. After standing down from rides on October 23, Williams underwent an MRI scan on October 25 which revealed the fracture.