By Geoffrey Riddle
Davy Russell is hoping to move on after he was issued with a caution following an inquiry by the referrals committee of the Irish Turf Club over an alleged incident involving the treatment of his mount Kings Dolly at Tramore on August 19.
Footage appeared to show the jockey striking the horse at a practice flight before the Flynn Hotel Group Mares Handicap Hurdle at the Friday evening fixture, subsequently creating a stir on social media.
The raceday stewards were not aware of the matter, but the Turf Club has the authority to look into the matter and take retrospective action where appropriate.
The incident was fully investigated and the referrals committee convened at Killarney at midday on Saturday.
Russell showed little public remorse between the incident and the hearing, and explained his actions at Killarney: “Obviously visually it does not look good,” he said.
“There were a number of different things going through my head at the time to bring the filly under control, because at that stage she was out of control.
“I felt that if I was to continue in that vein during the race I would have had a very difficult time trying to control her during the race.
“I felt I needed to do something to let her know there was somebody on her back. Just to slap her to the soft of the neck I felt was the appropriate action.
“I had the option of hitting her with the stick but to me incidnets would have been too severe for what I wanted to achieve. A slap on the neck is what she wanted to get her to pay attention.
“There is a line there that you don’t need to cross and I felt I hadn’t crossed it. If we don’t do that, the whole thing runs riot and we’ll have horses everywhere.”
Russell added, in an interview with At The Races:
"Obviously it is a relief it is over and one with and my family can move on. It was an unfortunate incident that maybe got misinterpreted by the general public. That is the way the stewards felt and they were happy with the inquiry.”
Denis Egan, the Turf Club's chief executive, said: "The decision was that he (Russell) was guilty of rule 272(i) and he has been issued with a caution.
"They (the referrals committee) accepted the explanation he gave, in that he wanted the horse to concentrate and that it was inappropriate to use the whip in the circumstances.
"He wanted the horse to concentrate and he used his hand. He accepted that was inappropriate."
Stewards' secretary Shay Quinn said: "Davy Russell was charged with a breach of rule 272, governing acting in a manner which is prejudicial to the integrity and proper conduct of horse racing, and having considered his record in this regard, he was cautioned concerning his future responsibilities.
"The most recent 272 breach by a jockey was Shane Foley who received a seven-day suspension for striking a horse with his whip at the start. Rule 272 is so broad and riders can be cautioned or given huge penalties.
"The stewards considered his record and his evidence, and this was deemed at the lower end of the scale."