By Jon Lees
Australia: Jockey Tom Marquand has been fined A$2,000 (about £1,000) for embracing Addeybb’s groom after winning Saturday’s Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes in breach of strict coronavirus rules.
Marquand has become the latest to fall foul of social distancing protocols which have been brought in to allow horse racing to continue in Australia behind closed doors while all other major sports are suspended.
Both Marquand and groom Safid Alam were sanctioned following an inquiry held by Racing NSW stewards on Wednesday into a breach of COVID-19 protocols when the jockey dismounted from the William Haggas-trained Addeyyb at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The stewards notice said: “Evidence was taken today from jockey Tom Marquand and licensed stablehand Safid Alam, who was assisted by stable representative Harry Eustace.
“Mr Marquand and Mr Alam each pleaded guilty to a charge under AR232(b) of having failed to comply with an order and/or direction of the Stewards in that after dismounting from Addeyyb, jockey Marquand did initiate contact with Mr Alam by contacting his shoulder, which then resulted in Mr Alam and jockey Marquand embracing shortly after, such contact being in breach of the Racing NSW Covid-19 Protocols.
“After considering all the evidence, taking into account the guilty pleas and contrition displayed by both parties, jockey Mr Marquand was fined $2,000 and Mr Alam was fined $500.”
Marquand, who is in the final week of his successful stay in Australia this weekend before returning to Britain, will be allowed to see out his stint as he has shown no symptom of coronavirus.
Racing NSW said: “After being made aware of the contact between the two parties, Racing NSW stewards sought medical advice in respect to what measures should be implemented to permit jockey Tom Marquand to continue to participate at New South Wales race meetings.
“After considering the medical advice and confirming both Mr Alam and Mr Marquand had not displayed Covid-19 symptoms, stewards were satisfied that the continued participation of jockey Tom Marquand at New South Wales race meetings did not present any increased risk as a result of this incident occurring and therefore Tom Marquand was permitted to fulfil his riding engagements.
With horse racing the only major sport that has continued in Australia, officials have strictly enforced any breaches of coronavirus protocols.
On Tuesday it emerged that a member of Gai Waterhouse’s staff had been banned from going racing for a month after hugging Waterhouse’s training partner Adrian Bott following Farnan’s victory in the Golden Slipper.
Last month apprentice jockey Zoe White was given a six month suspension by Queensland stewards for attending trackwork having been ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.