Venetia Williams: Charlie Deutsch has my full support and that of my owners
Charlie Deutsch will have the full support of his boss Venetia Williams when he returns to work having served the custodial sentence he received on Thursday after pleading guilty to dangerous driving while over the drink drive limit and escaping from police custody.
The 21-year-old, who panicked and drove off at high speed when police stopped him for a breath test in March on his way home from Liam Treadwell's retirement party in Cheltenham, has been sentenced to ten months in jail.
However, he could be out by the autumn and Williams, who said that Deutsch has the overwhelming support of her owners, hopes the prospect of returning to his old job will help him through his ordeal.
Williams, who attended Treadwell's party herself, does not condone any aspect of Deutsch's behaviour, but described it as a "rabbit-in-the-headlights moment, and totally out of character".
In a letter sent to all her owners, she expressed her shock on learning Deutsch had received a custodial sentence, and said: "Nothing can excuse Charlie's actions and we do not condone in any way his extraordinary reaction, for which he is deeply remorseful and ashamed.
"He has apologised to everyone and wants to thank all who have supported him and continue to do so. It doesn’t bear thinking about how his time will unfold, but we have to remind ourselves that however bad it is, it could always be worse. Difficult though.
"The best National Hunt jockeys must act on instant instinctive decisions with commitment. We have seen that unfold at Punchestown and places, and there is always a price to pay for bad decisions. And it is not always what we regard as a fair price.
"I hope he will be able to keep his head in place and use the time well with some interesting project perhaps that has a goal within the timescale. I will ensure that he knows how highly I regard him as our main jockey, and that he will be straight back into the saddle at Aramstone on his return.
"He will not miss much on the racecourse during his absence whilst summer racing takes place, and a return to riding as successful as fellow felon Lester Piggott will be welcomed by all.
"I hope that you will join me in sending him our full support at this very difficult period of his young life."
Williams believes Deutsch has the strength of character to get through his sentence.
She said: "Jump jockeys need to be strong and Charlie is no different. He rides into those big open ditches boldly with confidence, and I'm equally confident that when he comes back he will have learned a very hard lesson but will be able to get back in the saddle and ride as well as ever.
"The job will be waiting for him, which will surely help, and we hope he might be back in the autumn."
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