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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Russell and his colleagues must realise there are eyes everywhere now

David Jennings reflects on an affair from which lessons should be learned

Social media reaction is an inevitable feature of life in the spotlight
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Davy Russell has had 39 rides and seven winners since he punched Kings Dolly at Tramore. After thousands of tweets, a lot of column inches and two Turf Club hearings the former champion jockey has finally been handed a penalty more appropriate than the caution he initially received. 

Everyone has thrown their two penny worth into the argument and petrol has been poured on the fire on each and every one of the 18 days which have followed the unsavoury incident.

An inferno blazed by the time Tuesday morning's hearing arrived and hopefully the four-day ban will finally extinguish it and we can move on. It should have been sorted sooner.

Davy Russell: punching Kings Dolly has created a furore within the sport

Of course Russell should not have done what he did. You know that, I know that, and Russell himself certainly seemed to know that from listening to him speaking at the hearing, although he was adamant no malice or anger was behind the blow.

Be that as it may, he did strike Kings Dolly and must now accept the consequences – there is no appeal process available to him. 

Russell believes media coverage of the incident has been excessive and unfair on him and his family, although, in a bizarre twist, he will ultimately serve a smaller ban because of the media’s interest in the story – a story that sprang from his actions at Tramore.

Appeals body chairman Joseph Finnegan said Russell and his family had been put through the wringer, and so while a five-day ban was merited, so too was a day's reduction for the "strain and pressure".

What Russell and his colleagues must realise is that there are eyes everywhere now. Absolutely everywhere, even before the start of a mares' handicap hurdle on a Friday night at Tramore when you have your back to the stands, and through Twitter those eyes can multiply in seconds. Not, of course, that it's acceptable away from cameras or social media.

A four-day ban will be not long enough for some, too long for others. The Turf Club got there in the end, though, like Russell, it will hopefully be wiser for the experience.

Through Twitter those eyes can multiply in seconds

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