Club shows common sense over Cheng punishment

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2012, 12:00am

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And a compliment to the Jockey Club and stewards on advances made in common sense over the past few years.

Howard Cheng's four-day ban for in essence presenting a positive sample to a cold and flu remedy might still look a little harsh to some but it is a reduction on what has been doled out before.

The way the rules play - with the responsibility on the guilty party - stewards can quite easily give any jockey a month off in these circumstances and in the old days perhaps that would have happened. The facts are that the sample contains the drug above the acceptable threshold and, if they wanted to play it hard, an open-and-shut result, but there is a time to keep it sensible.

You probably could have knocked Alex Lai over with a feather when he got a month for the same offence two and a half years ago, and the appeals panel obviously thought that was a little too much too when it reduced his ban to five days, the same penalty stewards then handed out to Vincent Sit six months later.

In each case, stewards have made the point that jockeys have the facility, when taking medication, to have the medication approved by the club, though Cheng (pictured) was in Japan at the time and that probably got him the extra day off.