Guyon banned for whipping rival jockey
Frustration turned to lunacy for Maxime Guyon at Sha Tin yesterday and the young French star's Hong Kong contract will come to an abrupt and premature end after he pleaded guilty to striking a rival jockey three times.
Even as Horse Of The Year Ambitious Dragon was the talk of racing fans with his effortless Stewards' Cup victory under Douglas Whyte, Guyon - ironically the jockey who took that gelding to the top this time last year - was fighting for his licence behind closed doors after hitting Keith Yeung Ming-lun with the whip in a minor race earlier in the day.
Patrol footage showed that Guyon's mount, Dalkan, was in a line of three horses passing the 150-metre mark, with Gerald Mosse (Mr Marfach) to his inside and Yeung (Happy Eagle) outside him. While there was no major shift from Happy Eagle towards Dalkan, they were racing tight against each other and Guyon was the meat in the sandwich and having trouble getting properly at his mount. Carrying his whip in his left hand, Guyon initially raised up his left arm to fend Yeung away, then deliberately slashed the local rider on the body with the whip in the next stride, before he appeared to hit Yeung a third time with the whip in the process of using it on Dalkan.
None of it had any repercussion for the result, as none of the three was in contention and Happy Eagle ultimately did the best of them in finishing sixth, but it had repercussions for Guyon, who already faces a two-day careless riding ban to commence next Monday before this nine-day penalty for improper riding begins. The suspensions will keep him out of the saddle until March 15 and will force Guyon to miss his scheduled participation in Super Saturday, March 10, the major lead-up meeting at Meydan ahead of the Dubai World Cup.
One of Europe's rising stars, Guyon had a successful stint in 2011 but has endured a frustrating second visit since arriving in early December. He has landed just four winners from his 93 mounts, but with 12 second placings, many of them in photo-finishes. The nine-day penalty was in line with previous cases, the most recent Brett Prebble's eight-day ban in December 2010 for lifting his elbow against a Japanese jockey at Happy Valley. Guyon's contract was due to end on February 19, allowing him to return for the early part of the new season in France but he will now miss some important fixtures there as well.
Coincidentally, Dalkan's trainer, Sean Woods, was also in hot water but not over the same incident - Woods was fined HK$20,000 for the mistaken treatment of Brothers In Arms, a reserve for yesterday's meeting.
Times jockey Maxime Guyon was seen to strike Keith Yeung with his whip yesterday