So cops eight-meeting ban for lack of vigour on Super Fortune
Apprentice Ben So Tik-hung has been suspended for more than a month by Jockey Club stewards after pleading guilty to not giving his mount Super Fortune every reasonable and permissible chance in the Harlech Handicap at Sha Tin last Sunday.
So (pictured) had been enjoying a successful season and recently graduated from his 10-pound allowance, but the eight-meeting suspension handed down by stewards yesterday has halted that momentum significantly.
Chief steward Kim Kelly was mindful of the young rider's inexperience and also of Super Fortune's post-race veterinary examination in deciding the penalty when the inquiry was concluded at Happy Valley yesterday.
'While we were certainly of the view the ride was in breach of rule 99, we were mindful that Ben So is a seven-pound claimer, who has only had something like 500 rides,' Kelly said.
'His inexperience had to be considered, and we had to consider the matter knowing that the horse did have blood in its trachea after the race. Those factors were reflected in the penalty, which is at the lower end of the scale for an offence like this, and, of course, So still has his right of appeal.'
So was charged under Rule 99 (2), which states: 'The jockey of every horse shall take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that his horse is given a full opportunity to win or to obtain the best possible placing in the field.'
Stewards ruled 'during the early stages of the race, So failed to ride Super Fortune with sufficient endeavour and vigour which resulted in his mount becoming detached from the field near the 800m mark, and that from the 800m mark until after the 400m mark, while his mount remained racing in a detached position from the field, he failed to make up ground and race in closer proximity to the field when at all relevant times it was both reasonable and permissible for him to do so'.
He begins his ban after tomorrow's Sha Tin fixture and he may resume riding on May 13. The last jockey to be suspended under the same rule was Thomas Yeung Kai-tong, who was outed for nine meetings in February of last year.
Gerald Mosse got nine meetings for a similar offence in June 2008, Anthony Delpech was sidelined for 11 meetings in October 2007, and the last apprentice to be charged with the offence was Frankie Tsui Kwan-lai, who received 12 meetings in January 2007.
Meanwhile, Andreas Suborics, who was stood down from rides on Wednesday due to a headache, has informed the club he is not fit to fullfil his riding engagements at Sha Tin tomorrow. He will undergo further tests with the club doctors.