Reckless switch brings no joy for Kirby

Clive Cox had planned to run his star juvenile Reckless Abandon in tomorrow’s Weatherbys Super Sprint. In the event, an 8lb penalty for his win in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot has led to a change of plan, and Reckless Abandon will instead head across the channel for the Prix Robert Papin on 22 July.

That won’t be any consolation for Adam Kirby, who has ridden the horse to win both his races so far. The race at Ascot led to Kirby becoming the first jockey to be referred to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) since the latest incarnation of the whip rules in March.

The disciplinary panel watched video coverage of the race, and acknowledged Kirby’s admission that he had used his whip more often than the rules allow. It was the fifth such occasion during the last six months, so the stewards suspended Kirby for 21 days. He’s in the middle of that break now, and won’t be riding again until 28 July. He said after the hearing, “I’m disappointed, but there is nothing I can do.”

Jamie Stier, director of regulation for the BHA praised jockeys for the way they had adjusted to the rules, and also the stewards for how they had implemented them. After the plethora of the short, sharp shock treatment of jockeys, Stier was pleased that it had taken some time before the authorities had to come down hard on anyone.

He said, “The 21 day suspension issued to Adam Kirby illustrates the measures we have in place to identify and punish repeat offenders while ensuring individual penalties remain proportionate to the offence.”

As for Clive Cox, he’s yet to settle on a jockey for Reckless Abandon next weekend. Kirby’s understudy, John Fahy returned from his own suspension and is bound to come under consideration. But Reckless Abandon has rather lived up to his name in the way he ran at both Doncaster and Ascot, so it would be no surprise to see a more experienced jockey on board at Maisons-Lafitte.

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