Nash Rawiller will not ride at this weekend’s Randwick Guineas meeting after his appeal against the severity of a five-meeting careless riding suspension was dismissed by the appeals panel on Monday.
It was an appeal that showed the flawed process in the system in NSW, particularly around carnival time. Rawiller was given his suspension from a ride at Newcastle last Wednesday. Under the rules, he had to appeal within 24 hours for a careless riding ban of less than a month.
The original date for the appeal was this Friday. By that time, Rawiller would have served four of the five meetings, having started his time last Sunday, and wouldn’t have been able to take rides at this Saturday’s meeting. Racing NSW wisely moved the appeal to Monday.
Appeals are a crucial part of the system, allowing jockeys to challenge penalties which they feel are unjust, but too often appeals take too long to be heard in NSW. An appeals panel has to be formed and a date found when it can hear the cases. For more certainty, it would work better if the appeals panel is available on Tuesdays and Fridays for metropolitan cases of careless riding. Like in the NRL, suspensions should start the following weekend.
A jockey suspended on Saturday, could appeal on Monday and have it heard on Tuesday. If successful, he could take rides for the following weekend. Midweek suspensions could be heard on Fridays.
It would mean certainty for all involved: legal representatives, jockeys, trainers and owners.
The uncertainty under the present system does not help racing. There is a different system in Victoria where appeals are heard as quickly as possible.
In 2011, Craig Williams was suspended on Bendigo Cup day – six days before he was to ride Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup. His appeal was heard on Friday and he took the case to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Monday. He lost both appeals and did not ride the Cup winner on Tuesday.
Williams declared as the rider of Dunaden subject to winning his appeal, and when he lost, a replacement rider was found.
Under the Sydney system, Williams would have ridden in the Melbourne Cup, with jockeys given up to nine days to honour bookings. The time is given so not to disadvantage owners and trainers.
The system is open to manipulation with the stay of proceedings.
It raises the question of when a booking is firm. Under the rules, jockeys do not have to be declared until noon on acceptance day. If a jockey is declared on a horse then he should have to ride it, unless he is injured or sick. Those punters betting after acceptance time should have that certainty.
The wheels of justice can move slowly at present but a small change would improve the system.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.