De Gouveia In The Gates – Now This Is A Subjective Call!

A subjective decision!

Why would a jockey risk injury by not ensuring that he was buckled in and all set and ready to jump when the starter pressed the button to open the gates?

Diego De Gouveia – odd behaviour if it’s accurate (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

The Sporting Post spoke to jockey Diego de Gouveia for his side of the story after the National Horseracing Authority confirmed in a media release  that at an Inquiry held at the Vaal Racecourse on 30 March 2023 that De Gouveia was charged with a contravention of Rule 62.2.2. 

The particulars being that he rode GREGOR MACGREGOR in an unprofessional manner in Race 7 at Turffontein Racecourse on 21 March 2023, by failing to take all reasonable measures to ensure that he was sufficiently prepared for the start whilst in the stalls and under Starter’s orders, which led to him being unseated when the start was effected.

“I don’t blame the starter. It was a split second – my left foot came out of the stirrups. I screamed ‘wait!’ There was no ways I could have ridden the horse in that position. I would have risked injury to the horse, myself and my colleagues. It was a coincidence of events in double quick time. I pleaded not guilty as there was no malice on my part and it was a genuine racing incident. My colleagues in the stall-gates alongside me confirmed hearing me shout,” added a disappointed De Gouveia.

Watch the start here – he is in gate 1:

As he confirmed, he pleaded not guilty but was found guilty of the charge.

The Inquiry Board, after considering the evidence and mitigating factors presented, ruled that Jockey De Gouveia be suspended from riding in races for a period of seven (7) days.

Jockey De Gouveia was given the Right of Appeal against both the finding and the penalty imposed.

This action by the NHA is unprecedented and we cannot recall when any jockey was found guilty in a similar case where he had nothing obvious to gain and only personal injury to risk. How subjective is the decision, when there is no history on the defendant’s part?

De Gouveia reiterated that it was a racing incident – the movement by his horse, his foot slipping out the stirrups and the starter’s hand on the button. How can they not have given him the benefit of the doubt?

Gregor Macgregor, who finished riderless,  is trained by JS Roux and was backed from 16-1 to 7-1.

  • Editorial revised at 12h42 on 3 April 2023.

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