Whipping up a ban for excessive use of hand
with Alan Aitken
Time for another in our occasional series on 'Reasons why you should be happy about the standards of stewarding in Hong Kong'.
Yes, we all have our moments of disbelief at stewarding decisions, even here, but they are infrequent in this jurisdiction and we certainly don't ever expect to run into anything quite as slap your thigh, downright funny as this.
On one of Ireland's biggest race days, the Irish 2,000 Guineas meeting at The Curragh last weekend, one of the support races managed to upgrade the attention paid to it with the help of the jockey riding the horse which finished 14th of 25 runners and the stewarding officials.
Apprentice jockey Ronan Whelan subsequently found himself on the receiving end of a three-day suspension for excessive use of the whip.
Which might have been fair enough, had he been carrying a whip.
In fact, Whelan dropped his whip at the start and, possibly to make it look like he was serious anyway, delivered a few hand slaps to his mount down the final furlongs.
With both hands mind you, but he must have fooled the stewards because of the big windmill arm wind-up he gave himself once or twice.
Whelan apparently played his part by failing to mention dropping the whip, perhaps out of embarrassment at his error but, from a look at even the commercial video shot, the hand slaps and lack of whip seemed obvious.
Having later been apprised of this vital detail, officials reconvened, withdrew the charge and apologised to the lad.
And probably went to the pub for a quiet, thoughtful Guinness or two.