Mike Dillon: Champion jockey deserves way better treatment

2 comments
Matt Cameron.
Matt Cameron.

Now hang on a minute, guys in the stipes room.

Matt Cameron has been exonerated from deliberately not allowing the favourite Mime to win Race 6 at Ellerslie on Saturday, but is still being charged under Rule 636 (1) b, which is failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures (to win).

Sorry, but that's way too subjective. Shouldn't that be covered under incompetent riding? And, wouldn't that be a strange one for last season's champion jockey.

As this writer's column in Monday's edition of the Herald pointed out, Mime was slow away and was then checked. She settled second last and Cameron angled out to come outside the field on the home bend, but there were too many horses and he would have had to go ridiculously wide. So he did the only sensible thing and came back inside and finished strongly along the rail into second place.

This is not a competition but this writer has been watching race replays for a living - at least five meetings a week, some races five and six times, for a long period.

Probably 25,000 races a decade so let's say around 75,000 races - that's a lot.

There was nothing wrong with Cameron's ride on Mime. The horse is clearly not a 1200m type now, she was coming off the 1600m of the 1000 Guineas and the rub of the green did not go her way.

Don't take our word for it, Mime's Trainer of the Year Murray Baker could find no fault. "I'm happy with the ride and so is my owner," Baker told the Herald on Thursday.

"You can quote me that you never die wondering when Matt rides your horses - no one tries harder.

"He rode close to 50 winners for our stable last season."

And there is another point here - the stipendiary report from Saturday quoted: "Mime was then held up and shifted in to obtain clear running. An inquiry was opened into the riding tactics adopted aboard Mime (M Cameron) with stewards adjourning the matter for further investigation including reviewing the betting activity."

Now how unfair is it to any jockey to say in a report: "reviewing the betting activity" before any evidence is presented. Yes, Betfair and such agencies are at times investigated when there is suspicion, but to declare that to the world before an inquiry has taken place immediately puts the jockey in a bad light.

Cameron called the Herald on Thursday and asked for the following statement to be published:

"The inquiry into my ride on Mime in Race 6, Blue Breeze Inn 1200 at the Auckland Racing Club on 9th January 2016 has cleared me of any deliberate attempt to prevent Mime from winning the race, including any association with betting activity.

"As a jockey with almost 1000 career wins, a two-time NZ Champion Jockey and Premiership winner, riding with integrity and professionalism for my trainers is my utmost priority. It is a jockey's job to deploy the best tactics to ensure the horse has the best chance of winning. This is what we are entrusted to do, it is what we are paid for, and it is what I commit to every time I ride."

- Matt Cameron, January 14, 2016.

- NZ Herald

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