Ben Melham’s spring carnival is over after his appeal against a two-month suspension on a riding and handling charge was dismissed by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.
Melham appealed against the decision and severity of the penalty imposed upon him on September 23 over his handling of the Dean Binaisse-trained Numen Lumen in the Ted Bull Funerals Hcp (1223m) at Mornington on September 19.
Racing Victoria stewards charged Melham with failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure Numen Lumen was given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing.
Numen Lumen was backed from $2.60 to start the $2.15 favourite and finished third to Heavenly Dreams, beaten 1-1/4 lengths.
Stewards said Melham failed to improve his position after leaving the 800m mark and again at the top of the straight where, in the their opinion, there was ample opportunity to do so.
They said in arriving at the penalty they had taken into account the upcoming spring carnival and that it was Melham’s third offence under the rule.
Paul O’Sullivan of O’Sullivan Saddington Lawyers appeared on behalf of Melham on Tuesday, while Dayle Brown of Racing Victoria’s Integrity Services appeared on behalf of the stewards.
The penalty will stand and, taking into account the stay of proceedings that was granted to Melham, the suspension will now expire at midnight on Saturday, December 3.