A relieved Damian Browne has had a six week suspension for a handling charge quashed on appeal leaving him free to ride through the Sydney autumn carnival.
Queensland’s Racing Disciplinary Board (RDB) found while Browne had made an error of judgment, it was not so bad as to sustain a charge under Australian Rule 135 (b).
The case set a precedent as it was the first time a metropolitan jockey had been charged under the rule since the RDB was re-established in Queensland two years ago.
Browne said the result was a great relief and he could now get on with the job in Sydney starting with Fire Up Fifi in the Group One Coolmore Classic on Saturday.
“It has been playing on my mind. Obviously I have had some sleepless nights,” Browne said.
RBD chairman Bill Carter said the charge should not be confused with AR 135 (a) which dealt with not allowing a horse to run on its merits.
He said Browne faced a charge which involved an assessment of the standard of a ride by a jockey.
“The charge is not designed to catch a jockey who makes an error but is designed to punish a jockey who makes an error for which he can be held culpable,” he said.
Carter said he and the other two board members Brock Miller and Paul James were unanimous in finding they could not be satisfied Browne’s ride was blameworthy.
Stewards suspended Browne after finding him guilty of failing to give Kingtantes every chance to figure in the best placing in a race at Eagle Farm on February 26.
Stewards said Browne failed to take an available run between two horses at the 350m and failed to show the vigour expected between the 300m and 200m.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Browne’s legal counsel Bob Whyburn said the jockey admitted he had erred in not taking the run, believing another run may present itself on the inside.
Whyburn said Browne had made a simple error for a few strides and had over-thought the situation.
However, James Dart, chairman of stewards at the Eagle Farm meeting, said his poor riding had been over an 11 second period.
Browne has won four Group One races this season, three on star sprinter Buffering and last month’s Blue Diamond Stakes on Earthquake.
Kingtante’s trainer Robert Heathcote also prepares Buffering and Fire Up Fifi who was a little disappointing when fifth in the Group Three Wiggle Stakes at Warwick Farm won by Catkins.
The mare finished third behind Red Tracer and her Chris Waller-trained Catkins in the Group One Myer Classic in the spring and third again at Group One level in the Railway Stakes (1600m) in Perth.