A CONTRITE and apologetic Dwayne Dunn copped his 18-meeting suspension on the chin yesterday after a disaster was narrowly avoided in the fourth race at Caulfield.
On National Jockeys Trust Day, an occasion on which focus is placed on raising funds for injured jockeys, Dunn nearly caused a raft of fresh ones when his mount Windbern shifted badly with about 200m to go in the 2000m race.
Four horses on Dunn’s outside all felt the full effect of the sharp movement, which the veteran hoop said was due to an “overreaction” from his horse as he tried to get Windbern into clear running room.
Windbern went on to win the race and, although there were no protests, Dunn knew he was in trouble immediately.
It took three different hearings in front of stewards after the fourth, fifth and final race, during which as many as seven jockeys were asked to give evidence, before stewards their decision.
The final charge was of careless riding but acting chief steward Rob Cram conceded more serious charges were considered given the potential for more damage.
Dunn, well aware he and his colleagues had enjoyed a lucky escape, pleaded guilty and told stewards there was no intention to cause the interference. “The blame falls at my feet, no doubt,” he said.
“It all started from my horse — my horse caught a heel or overreacted abruptly.
“I had plenty of horse and came to I thought I could just ease out ... then she went hard right and I put her onto the boys on my outside.
“There was no intention to get the extreme movement that occurred.”
Dunn was one off the rails behind the two leaders when he went for clear space in the charge to the finishing post.
He almost took out the heels of Meat Traders, on his immediate outside, and also careered into Toffatin and Savvy Dresser, who tailed off in the field.
The domino effect also impeded the run of Dandre on the e e x t r e me o u t s i d e . Stewards s labelled itt “a fairly ly graphic and u n f o r t u n a t e incident”, but took into account Dunn’s guilty plea, his efforts to straighten his horse to avoid further damage and his record of just two suspensions in the past 12 months before handing out the penalty.
“I can advise the stewards did discuss a charge of reckless riding,” Cram said.
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“But d due to the racing manner of the horse, and your attempt to straighten the mount as soon as you did, we deemed it to be in the high range of careless riding.”
Dunn, who opted to start his penalty immediately, can return to riding on August 3. firstname.lastname@example.org
Windbern and Dwayne Dunn ( sky blue, inset below right) career into the path of rivals at Caulfield yesterday. Pictures: AAP heraldsun.com.au