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Russell under fire for 'completely unacceptable' punching of horse

RSPCA says caution sends out wrong signal to jockeys

Davy Russell: found guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute but escaped with a caution
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RSPCA equine consultant David Muir has expressed his distaste for Davy Russell's behaviour on Kings Dolly at Tramore and his surprise that the jockey escaped with a caution from the Turf Club.

A recent video of the incident posted on Twitter by 'drewboy' (@fireandskill), which has been retweeted nearly 10,000 times and received more than 1,600 comments, shows more clearly Russell punching Kings Dolly in the head with his right fist before the start of a handicap hurdle on August 18. The mare had approached the 'show' hurdle at speed and came to a skiddy stop, lifting Russell out of the saddle, but without threatening to unseat him.

Muir said: "Davy Russell is not a bad jockey, and it was out of character, but hitting a horse like he did is completely unacceptable. It's a nonsense.

"Where he struck her is a major muscular area and it probably hurt Russell more than the horse – but that doesn't make it acceptable. Horses, like any other animal, should be treated with respect, and punching one is disrespectful."

A Turf Club hearing nine days after the event found Russell guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute yet, to widespread surprise and condemnation, failed to administer a meaningful punishment.

Muir, who has worked closely with the BHA and British racecourse officials for years, added: "The Turf Club had more information than we have and have seen it from different angles, but resorting to a mere caution sends out the wrong signal to other jockeys. I would have expected a little more severity than that.

"I would have thought that if it had fallen under the judiciary of the BHA it would have been treated more firmly. Historically they have treated similar offences as if they are unacceptable and given the person concerned something like a five-day ban."


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Racing Post's Ireland editor Richard Forristal on the incident

Senior reporter Jon Lees offers his perspective on the issue


 

 

Davy Russell is not a bad jockey, and it was out of character, but hitting a horse like he did is completely unacceptable. It's a nonsense
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