Dunn keen for spring
A RESILIENT Dwayne Dunn has found a positive in the illtimed 11-meeting suspension that will almost certainly cost him the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership — star sprinter Chautauqua.
Dunn said he would compete at Flemington tomorrow and then use the enforced lay off to rest his ailing hip and neck in preparation for the serious Group 1 spring races.
“I’ve been carrying a couple of injuries and I should have probably stopped a bit earlier, so I’ll have a good break now and really focus on the spring,” Dunn said of his decision not to appeal against his careless riding penalty.
“It looks exciting with some serious horses coming through the yard.”
One of those serious horses is Team Hawkes sprinter Chautauqua, which the 42year-old has already partnered to two Group 2 wins.
“I’m not down and out with Chautauqua yet. There’s still an opportunity to ride him again,” Dunn said.
He is also eyeing the Hawkes’ rising star Lake Geneva, who ran third in the Golden Slipper behind Vancouver.
Dunn’s decision to look forward comes after the former South Australian rode a treble at Moonee Valley on Wednes-
I should have probably stopped a bit earlier, so I’ll have a good break now DWAYNE DUNN
day to take his metropolitan season tally to 55 winners, one ahead of Craig Williams and three clear of Damien Oliver.
But his title hopes were all but wiped out when he was found guilty of careless riding.
“It will be interesting if I can ride two or three on Saturday and put them under pressure for the last three meetings,” he said. “But either way, it’s been a good ride.”
Dunn’s was the 309th careless riding suspension this season. In the past five years the average has been 212.
Chief steward Terry Bailey said its was concerning the message was not getting through and stewards would consider tougher penalties.
Victorian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Des O’Keeffe said the increase in suspensions was down to stewards lowering the bar.
“What used to be a free-kick and a warning is now a lowlevel suspension. What used to be a low-level suspension is now in the medium range,” he said.
O’Keeffe said another factor was the pressure jockeys were under to maintain rides.
He said the association had no issue with the tougher approach, and that aggrieved riders had the right of appeal.
In the past year, half of the 22 jockeys who went to the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board had their penalties varied.