An apprentice jockey who was suspended for punching a horse at Port Lincoln on Wednesday has apologised for his actions.
Jockey Dylan Caboche was suspended for two weeks by Thoroughbred Racing SA stewards after he was seen punching his mount She’s Reneldasgirl prior to the running of the third race of the day.
On Thursday Mr Caboche said “I want to genuinely, sincerely and unreservedly apologise to everyone for my actions yesterday.”
“My apology goes to the horse’s connections, my fellow jockeys here in SA and nationally, Thoroughbred Racing SA, the racing public and to the wider community.
Mr Caboche said any explanation could not condone what he did and no matter how difficult his mount was, he could not justify his actions.
Mr Caboche’s employer, Morphettville based trainer Ryan Balfour, supported the jockey and said the incident was “out of character”.
“Dylan has had 1500 race rides and would have ridden many thousands of track gallops for me,” he said.
“All I have ever seen from Dylan is that he has complete respect and a genuine affection for the horses he works with.”
Despite this Australian Jockeys Association chairman Des O’Keeffe said he would recommend to his directors for a Code of Conduct hearing to look into what occurred.
“We have close to 200,000 starters annually in Australia and an incident like this may occur once a year, but that is once too often,” he said.
“I understand Dylan is a young man with until now an impeccable record in this area but we need to make it clear that incidents such as yesterday’s will not be condoned.”
In a statement on Wednesday, a Thoroughbred Racing SA spokesperson said the two-week penalty should send a message that this behaviour was not acceptable and the association would not condone or tolerate such behaviour.
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses believes the penalty is not strong enough and has called for the jockey to be banned for life.
Coalition communications manager Ward Young said if jockeys could not control their tempers, they should not be on the racetrack.
“If this is what we see on race day, we can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes,” he said.
“No wonder horse racing is falling out of favour with the general public when grossly inadequate punishments are dished out for animal abuse.”
Caboche’s penalty begins at midnight on November 17 and is entitled to an appeal.