Conditional jockey Alex Thorne has lost an appeal against his 21-day ban from the Taunton stewards for failing to weigh in after winning on Twin Star.
Thorne’s case caused controversy this month – when because of Covid-19 protocols in place at the track, the jockeys had to take a different route to the changing rooms, whereas in the past they would have had to walk directly past the scales.
Unfortunately for Thorne, who carried out a winning TV interview, he went straight into the changing rooms and was disqualified and placed last as a result.
Thorne was represented at the independent disciplinary panel hearing by Rory Mac Neice – who highlighted the fact that since the resumption of racing and the new track layouts, nine jockeys had failed to weigh in compared to just three in 2019.
The 21-day penalty for failing to weigh in is fixed but can be changed if there are “exceptional circumstances”.
However, the appeal was dismissed by the panel who did not think Thorne’s case met those criteria.
Trainer Noel Williams has plenty of sympathy for Alexander Thorne after the conditional jockey failed to weigh in having finishing first past the post at Taunton on Twin Star, causing him to be disqualified.
Due to Covid-19 protocols jockeys at the Somerset track are currently using a temporary changing room, while the scales are in their usual spot.
Thorne went directly into the changing room after conducting a winning interview rather than weighing in first, and the stewards were left with no other option but to disqualify Twin Star and announce Robinshill the winner. Thorne was also suspended for 21 days.
The race was the first ever from the course shown by the ITV cameras.
“Obviously it is an unfortunate situation,” said Williams.
“I think there has to be a little bit of help for these guys. I know they are professionals and are responsible themselves for weighing in, but there are a lot of things going through their heads when they come in from a ride, good and bad.
“Particularly when they win, as happened today, they can be taken to one side for an interview and they have a lot of things going on.
“I’m not sure what it’s like at every track, but at Taunton to get back to the changing room before you’d basically trip over the scales getting back to the weighing room, but obviously it is different now with the Covid restrictions.
“Alex isn’t the first jockey that’s ever done it and he certainly won’t be the last. I have plenty of sympathy for him – he’ll be absolutely gutted. We’ve all lost out on what was a career-best effort (from Twin Star), but he’ll be really gutted.”
The trainer went on: “I think they need a bit of help, someone on the door just checking they’ve weighed in, it takes very little for that to happen as no one wants this to happen.
“Everyone loses in this situation – apart from the connections of the original second – and even if I was the connections getting promoted to first it’s a hollow victory.
“I would rather this was looked into, especially with the layout of courses at the moment. Jockeys shouldn’t have to have a sat nav to get back to their changing room.”
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