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Jockey Michael Walker will travel to New Zealand on Thursday to answer a charge of making statements detrimental to racing on a television program.

The New Zealand Judicial Control Authority will hear the charge which could cost Walker the Australian Derby ride on Puccini.

Walker won the New Zealand Derby aboard Puccini on March 1 at Ellerslie but landed in trouble for comments he made on Australia’s Sky Racing three days later.

The jockey told the hosts of Off The Rails he had back and shoulder problems which caused him to attempt to gain a release from his remaining rides except Puccini.

Stewards advised Walker he must forfeit all of his rides if he felt he was unable to continue.

However, the jockey told them he would not be able to make the weights of two of his rides to ensure he was able to partner Puccini.

“I wasn’t let that happening. … I just said I can’t make the weight on the next one,” Walker told the program.

“So I was able to take a couple of races off and pull myself together for the Derby.”

Walker spoke with NZ stewards via telephone on Friday before confirming he would attend the hearing in person.

Walker would not pre-empt the outcome of the charge but hoped to receive a fine if found guilty.

“What will be, will be,” Walker said.

Puccini is due to arrive in Sydney early this week to prepare for Saturday’s Rosehill Guineas and the Australian Derby two weeks later.

 
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