Stewards throw out Williams's appeal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 April, 2005, 12:00am

The season is all but over for Australian rider Craig Williams after the Jockey Club last night dismissed his appeal against a 16-meeting ban for his riding of Trust Me last month.

Williams will ride today at Sha Tin then return to race riding from June 19 - leaving him with just the final two meetings of what, paradoxically, is his best season here.

Two more winners, added to his current tally of 31, will take him past his previous best 32 wins despite Williams having missed almost two months earlier in the season after a ban for failing to tell stewards he had a shoulder injury.

'It's disappointing to have the appeal dismissed and particularly that there was no reduction in the penalty either,' Williams said last night.

'I haven't done anything wrong. I've worked very hard all season and the results have been there so it's very hard now to be hit with a penalty like this. Anyway, I have to focus on doing as well as I can with the opportunities I have left.'

The appeals panel upheld the decision of the racing stewards, who imposed the 16-meeting ban on March 8 after finding him guilty of failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to allow Trust Me to achieve his best finish in an all-weather sprint on March 5.

Williams' penalty is one of the most severe to be upheld on appeal in a long time.

Last night's resumption was the third three-hour session of the appeal, which began on Monday and continued on Thursday.