Danny Brock left elastic bands on his whip in error says disciplinary panel
Under-fire jockey Danny Brock made an honest error rather than attempt to gain an advantage when using a modified whip in a race at Chelmsford, an independent disciplinary panel has found.
The panel gave Brock a seven-day suspension in October for marking a horse with a whip wrapped with two elastic bands and on Monday published the reasoning behind that decision.
Brock's winning ride on Resurrected in September had come under intense scrutiny in recent days after an outcry on social media, with the jockey telling the Racing Post last week he had received death threats and feared his career could be over because of the controversy.
Having been initially fined £140 by the raceday stewards, Brock's penalty was changed to a seven-day suspension, which he has already served.
In a statement on Monday, Brock said: "I would like to apologise to the public and my work colleagues, as well as the trainers and owners who I ride for. I am hoping now that this can be put behind me and I can move forward and be given a second chance."
Much of the hearing centred on Brock's explanation as to why the bands were on the whip, as his initial explanation to the raceday stewards had been difficult to follow.
Solicitor Rory Mac Neice, taking detailed instructions from Brock, explained the jockey had left the elastic bands on his whip by accident. Brock's reasoning for the bands being on the whip was he sometimes used them around his wrists to hold his silks neatly in place.
Brock asserted he generally kept the bands on the gearstick of his car, then transferred them when going into racecourses.
He thought he may have transferred the bands on to a spare whip before his Chelmsford ride as an alternative place to stow them, but then mistakenly took this whip into the racecourse and subsequently used it on Resurrected.
The rider accepted he was at fault, but it was a negligent error rather than premeditated.
Despite initial misgivings regarding Brock's explanation, the panel was assured via a number of factors that he was not trying to mislead them.
Lyn Williams, representing the BHA in the case, told the panel it was not possible to say, one way or the other, if the rubber bands on the flap of the whip could have affected its compression factor.
As a consequence the BHA did not make a case that the addition of the rubber bands had been the cause, in whole or in part, of the horse’s minor wealing to its left rear hindquarter.
In addition, the BHA had checked on-course CCTV footage before and after the race to observe Brock's behaviour and also made other inquiries to see if there was any evidence of his deliberately adding the bands to the whip. Brock was shown to have behaved normally, and made no attempts to conceal the bands attached to the flap of his whip.
After being found initially in breach of rule (F)44 in not carrying an approved whip, Brock was fined £140. While there was no case to answer that he had misused the modified whip, Brock's carelessness was deemed "serious", so his fine was rescinded by the panel and replaced by a seven-day ban.
The panel noted: "He [and for that matter other jockeys] need to be fully aware of the damage to the reputation of racing that can arise if non-compliant equipment is used, even if this happens by mistake."
The BHA last week announced its intention to review penalties for using modified whips as a result of the case.
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