Rules need rewriting after jockey's charge dismissed

By Mike Dillon

Jockey Matt Cameron
Jockey Matt Cameron

Some of our rules of racing need looking at.

Matt Cameron was late last week exonerated on a charge of - well, that's what this column is about - exactly what was he charged with?

When Cameron rode Mime into second at Ellerslie in January he'd hardly taken a breath after removing the saddle before stewards were all over him like flies at a beach picnic.

The following week he was charged with "failing to take all permissible measures to win the race or finish in the best possible position".

A decision had been made not to charge him with the more serious offence of "stopping" the horse, or in basic racing language "pulling it up". Or, in fact, is "failing to take all permissible measures" a lesser charge?

Does it still imply the jockey was not trying? Let's face it, a jockey goes out to pull a horse up or to try to win a race.

Where can there possibly be middle ground between the two.

There can't, so is "failing to take all permissible measures" meant to eliminate any suggestion of scurrilous intent and, if so, surely then it simply comes down to a bad ride.

If stewards were to charge every jockey with a bad ride they'd be on course until 3am the morning after every raceday.

Given the circumstances, the charge against Cameron was ludicrous and this column pointed that out weeks ago.

The "failing to take all permissible measures" rule is a nonsense. Ask 20 stewards and JCA panel members around the country what it's meant to define and you'd get 15 different answers.

The problem arises from the fascination of racing administrators in decades past of involving lawyers to write the rules of racing.

Fix up our out-of-date rules now and leave the lawyers out of it.

Retired jockey, harness trainer and driver and former stipendiary steward Noel McCutcheon was one of the two Judicial Control Authority members who dismissed the case against Cameron last Friday.

He'd know more about rewriting the rules than most.

- NZ Herald

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