By Jon Lees
NZ: One of New Zealand’s top jockeys Jason Waddell has been disqualified for ten years for threatening to kill a top racing official.
Waddell, 35, told Waikato Racing Club chief executive Andrew Castles in a phone call, “You’re dead ****, watch your back” and also posted an insulting social media message and made a threat against another leading racing figure.
Waddell was found guilty of acts detrimental to the interests of racing at an inquiry heard by the Judicial Committee of the Judicial Control Authority, which was held in May and a decision announced this month.
A subsequent request by Waddell, who did not attend the inquiry and had not responded at various stages of the investigation, asking for a rehearing so he could defend the charges was declined.
Waddell has ridden more than 700 winners and enjoyed a highly successful start to 2020 when he rode three G1 winners, including success in the New Zealand Oaks on Jennifer Eccles.
He was set to partner the filly in a G1 on her seasonal comeback at Hastings in September but was stood down after being unable to provide a urine sample for a drug test, for which he was given a 22-month disqualification in December. It was the day after the disqualification when he threatened Castles, for which he was also charged by police.
Waddell, a multiple G1-winning rider, has a poor disciplinary record. He was given a 14-month ban in 2010 when he tested positive for methamphetamine and was handed a 12-month sentence in 2015 after he was found guilty of causing deliberate interference to a horse ridden by Samantha Collett, which it was alleged could have put her in a wheelchair.
The inquiry concluded there were no mitigating factors to his offending. He had previously breached the rules with “obscene, abusive and threatening behaviour” and his most recent offending was regarded as “a significant increase in seriousness”.
It took into account that Waddell suffered depression, had voluntarily cancelled his licence and had a cannabis addiction.
However the panel said a disqualification was the only appropriate sanction to reflect the fact that he was not “a fit and proper person to be involved in the racing industry”.
Waddell was disqualified until September 2030 and ordered to pay a total of NZ$2,500 (£1,200) towards costs.
• Visit the NZ Judicial Control Authority website