Neil Callan dealt massive blow as Hong Kong licence suspended over rant

Horse Racing Neil Callan
Neil Callan: the jockey’s licence was suspended immediately at inquiry into conduct. Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

By Jon Lees

Hong Kong: Neil Callan’s eight-year stint in Hong Kong is at an end after the jockey’s licence was suspended with immediate effect owing to his conduct at a stewards’ inquiry in February.

UPDATE: Neil Callan lodges appeal against Hong Kong licence suspension

Callan, 42, was summoned to a hearing of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s licensing committee on Wednesday to consider the status of his licence in the wake of the inquiry at which he had reacted angrily to a three-day careless riding ban.

The hearing concluded with the panel withdrawing his licence and suspending him until the end of the Hong Kong season on July 14. He was removed from all his rides at Happy Valley on Thursday.

Horse Racing Neil Callan
Neil Callan celebrates his Chairman’s Trophy win on Mighty Giant: Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

The committee’s notice said: “Jockey Neil Callan was called to attend a hearing by the Licensing Committee to consider the status of his current 2020/2021 Club Jockey’s Licence pursuant to Rule 14(2) of the Rules of Racing. 

“Having today conducted a hearing on this matter the Committee has decided that Mr Callan’s current 2020/2021 Club Jockey’s licence should be suspended until the end of the 2020/2021 racing season with immediate effect.  Mr Callan has a right of appeal to the Stewards of the Jockey Club against this decision of the Licensing Committee.”

Only on Monday Callan was being lauded for his performance on Mighty Giant, whom he steered to an all-the-way upset victory in the G2 Chairman’s Trophy at Sha Tin for his 21st win of the campaign.

Speaking after the race, the jockey said: “It means a lot. Everybody knows my situation but all I want to do is keep working hard, keep riding winners here in Hong Kong and the bigger winners, the better.”

Callan, who is not expected to appeal, was one of Britain’s most prolific winners before he relocated to Hong Kong in 2014, exceeding 100 winners in a year eight times and amassing 170 in his best season in 2007.

His G1 wins included the Nunthorpe Stakes on Borderlescott in 2009 and Middle Park Stakes on Astaire in 2013, while he rode the winners of both the Italian Derby and Oaks for the late Michael Jarvis. After that trainer’s death, he became Roger Varian’s first stable jockey.

He recorded the biggest of his 276 victories in Hong Kong on Blazing Speed in the 2015 G1 QEII Cup.

• Visit the Hong Kong Jockey Club website

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