Stewards send clear message to everyone

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am

Apprentice Ben So Tik-hung has probably exhausted his share of inexperience points with his second breach of the reasonable and permissible measures rule, particularly in the current climate of crackdowns on serious misjudgments on riding.

After his first ban in April last year, chief steward Kim Kelly conceded So's inexperience at that time - he'd had fewer than 500 rides - had weighed in his favour when he had a shocker on Super Fortune up the straight and copped a ban of eight days.

On that occasion, So had lost the lure in the middle stages in allowing his ride to become detached from the rear of the field in a conspicuous last position, before charging home into sixth in an eye-catching run behind the likes of Multiglory and Let Me Fight.

Super Fortune had only one more race before succumbing to injury and being retired and it is so often these types of troubled horses which get jockeys into trouble.

So's recent error on Deposer was the polar opposite, basically getting too far ahead of the field when he earned himself a 10-day ban this time, and Deposer also has the look of a horse whose physical frailties may demand an early retirement. He bled after his blistering effort to lead and there was a school of thought that fact alone might see So escape penalty for what was an appalling display.

Probably to have had use of that loophole, however, the young rider would have had to make a case the bleeding attack had occurred early in the race and set his mount into a panic and a mood that So was unable to control.

Stewards most likely would have then made the case that perhaps it was the tactics employed which had a role in causing the bleeding attack.

Neither case would be entirely defensible with fact, as the time and reason behind a bleeding attack can be considered a cocktail of different contributing factors, but it would be fairly reasonable to assume So's ride should have looked a little different had he been aware of a problem in running with Deposer.

The junior rider became the fourth jockey to be penalised under the reasonable and permissible measures rule this season, a serious contrast with the five separate cases during the previous four seasons, so the message is out there for all.