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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Temper tantrum: horse takes flight after amateur jockey's foul-mouthed tirade

BHA panel suggests rider should seek assistance to control temper

Andoversford point-to-point, where jockey Sam Lee threw a temper tantrum after Howld Your Whist refused to start
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The close relationship between horse and rider is one of the key aspects of racing and, on the rare occasion the two have a difference of opinion, it is usually the larger of the two mammals who has the final say.

The sight of horses planting themselves at the start of a race may not in itself be that unusual but a BHA inquiry has heard of the extreme measures Howld Your Whist went to distance himself from his irate jockey Sam Lee. 

Lee appeared before an independent disciplinary panel at the BHA to answer charges of improper conduct.

The panel viewed YouTube footage and received a report from stewards at Andoversford point-to-point, where the jockey became incensed after Howld Your Whist refused to start. 

The inquiry report cites Lee as having shouted obscenities and raising his whip after dismounting the horse, whereupon the seven-year-old decided that flight was better than fight and took off down the course in the opposite direction to the other runners. 

The report goes on to describe Lee's behaviour thus: "In response to his horse breaking free, shouting obscenities, throwing his helmet on to the floor and dropping onto his haunches in a temper tantrum."

Lee attended the hearing without representation and, while partially accepting the charges, he rejected the notion that he had struck Howld Your Whist with his whip, and also disputed his actions had been the sole cause of his mount's bold escape bid. 

With inconclusive evidence from the video footage, the panel was unable to uphold the accusation that Lee had deliberately raised his whip and struck out at the horse, an action that would have been judged more severely than the rest of the improper conduct charge. 

The report summarised Lee's testimony as follows: "He said at no stage did he raise his whip to the horse or attempt to hit it or strike out at it.

"He agreed his shouting and general lack of self-control contributed to the horse breaking loose but disputed they were the sole cause.  Mr Lee accepted that his language and temper tantrum were unacceptable."

Lee also said his anger had been motivated by frustration, as he believed Howld Your Whist held a winning chance, as well as the belief the starter had given him insufficient time to line up with the rest of the field. 

The panel handed Lee a six-day ban and in concluding remarks, expressed the hope that: "Mr Lee will seek some assistance in relation to controlling his temper when at a race meeting"

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Shouting obscenities, throwing his helmet on to the floor and dropping onto his haunches in a temper tantrum
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