Lane in the Winners’ Lane for Group 1 Sires’ Raises Questions
The news reaching us today is that top Melbourne jockey Damian Lane is in hot water with Randwick stewards over his ride on El Dorado Dreaming during the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes Saturday past.
Lane and El Dorado Dreaming won the race, even though the horse was an $81 chance at the start.
Bad things happen to Melbourne jockeys when they invade Sydney territory.
Lane has lodged an appeal, although we are uncertain as to the exact nature of that appeal.
He is charged with using his whip four times more than the permissible five times before the final 100 metres of a race.
If the stewards counting skills are anywhere near accurate, this is not a case of Lane using the whip six times, one above the limit.
Regardless of how one may feel about the whip rules instituted in 2015, Lane was clearly well over the limit. Whether his infraction warranted a fine of $5,000 or not is a subject for debate.
The larger issue is that if Lane did indeed violate the rule, should the victory by El Dorado Dreaming be vacated and the win given to second place finisher Oohood?
What is the point of having the whip rule if it has no true consequences?
We do not enjoy horses being hit, period, let alone above the number stated by the rules, yet the win at Group 1 level was worth $580,000. Lane’s share of that haul makes a $5,000 fine laughable.
Lane may claim that riding an $81 chance should give him some latitude, that the whip rule is more of a guideline and not an actual rule, but the whip rule is called a rule and not a suggestion.
Was anyone watching what was going on with Brenton Avdulla on Outrageous? That $61 chance finished third.
Handicapping two-year-olds is not a game for the faint of heart, and odds prior to a race are not rules, but when an $81 chance beats a $3.20 favourite due to a rules violation, it is an indictment of the system.
Lane was also suspended for a week, so his employers will be scrambling to find replacement hoops for the second day of The Championships next weekend.