Coetzee banned for weighing in light

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 November, 2008, 12:00am

Every jockey and trainer's worst nightmare came true for Dennis Yip Chor-hong and Felix Coetzee at Sha Tin yesterday, when a horse weighed in light following the fourth race and had to be disqualified.

Village Kid, well backed at $81 (for $10), worked home late to gain third place behind Mega Bullet in the Panasonic Workio Handicap but when Coetzee went to weigh in, he and his saddle were 1.1 pounds lighter than they should have been.

Under the rules of racing, stipendiary stewards have no option but to disqualify any such horse. Fourth placed Win More (Jacky Tong Chi-kit) was promoted to third.

Stewards reconvened their inquiry into the reason for Coetzee weighing in light after the final event.

Coetzee told them the gear he weighed out with was exactly the same as the set he returned with after the race, and chief steward Jamie Stier said there was no evidence to dispute that claim. Coetzee said he had gone to the toilet and changed his riding breeches after weighing out, but said this was something he had done on many previous occasion without ever falling foul of the rules.

While stewards commended Coetzee for the forthright nature of his evidence, they still charged him under Rule 113(3) for failing to weigh in at his allotted weight of 126 pounds.

The South African horseman was found guilty of the charge and suspended for five meetings, to take effect after next Sunday's International Cup and Mile Trials. He'll be eligible to resume at Happy Valley on the night of the International Jockeys Championship, December 11.

The last such case was 14 years ago, when Australian Damien Oliver weighed in light after winning on the Neville Begg-trained Diamond Coast in May 1994.