Ben Melham’s spring carnival will come to an abrupt end following the weekend after he was suspended for two months over his handling of the Dean Binaisse-trained Numen Lumen at Mornington on Monday.
Racing Victoria stewards had charged Melham with failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures in the Ted Bull Funerals Hcp (1223m) to ensure his mount was given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing in the field.
The particulars were that he failed to improve his position after leaving the 800m mark where, in the opinion of the stewards, there was ample opportunity to do so.
And that at the entrance to the straight he again failed to improve his position to the inside of Naringaling where, in the opinion of the stewards, there was room to do so.
Numen Lumen was backed from $2.60 to start the $2.15 favourite and finished third, beaten 1-1/4 lengths, to Heavenly Dreams.
On Friday, stewards took evidence from Binaisse and further evidence from Melham whose suspension, as it stands, begins on Monday although he has the option of lodging an appeal.
He can resume riding on November 26.
Stewards took into account all relevant matters including the upcoming spring carnival and that this was his third offence under the rule.
Melham was suspended for two months – halved on appeal – into his handling of the Colin Little-trained Sirius Miss at Sale in May 2008 and for two months over his handling of the Tony Vasil-trained Ariani at Pakenham in November 2008.
Melham, who has won Group One races aboard Black Caviar (2010 Patinack Farm Classic) and Shadows In The Sun (2011 South Australian Derby), has three mounts at Caulfield on Saturday.
He rides the Peter Moody-trained Luen Yat Forever in the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and stablemate Macedonian in the Perri Cutten Plate (2000m).
Melham’s other ride at the meeting is the Jason Warren-trained Total Liberty in the Carlton Draught Racing Sweep Hcp (1100m).