Thoroughbred – Stewards Inquiry – MISS HARLEY QUINN (Jockey Robert Markou) – Race 5, the Red Dust Holding Handicap (1213m) at Geraldton Turf Club on Tuesday 7 November 2017.
On Saturday, 25 November 2017 at the Geraldton Turf Club, RWWA Thoroughbred Stewards continued the adjourned inquiry into Jockey Robert Markou’s riding and handling of MISS HARLEY QUINN in race 5, the Red Dust Holdings Handicap at Geraldton on the 7 November 2017 and the fist gesture made by him towards Apprentice Brodie Kirby after passing the winning post.
After taking initial evidence from Jockey R Markou and Apprentice B Kirby (STELLAR IGNITION) immediately following the race, the inquiry was adjourned by Stewards to conduct investigations including a full betting analysis on the race.
Subsequent investigations were completed with numerous interviews conducted together with a comprehensive analysis of betting transactions on the race. From this, no areas of concern were identified in relation to any betting activities on MISS HARLEY QUINN and STELLAR IGNITION or any other runner in the race. From the thorough analysis undertaken, it was determined that all investments made on the race were within normal parameters.
After taking further evidence from Mr Markou on Saturday, 25 November 2017, he was found guilty to the following two (2) charges:
Charge 1-AR135 (b) for failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure his mount is given every opportunity to win with the specifics of the charge being that at Geraldton in Race 5 on the 7th November 2017 Mr Markou, rider of MISS HARLEY QUINN rode his mount with insufficient vigour over the final 40 metres of the event when it was reasonable and permissible to do so and consequently MISS HARLEY QUINN was not given full opportunity to win the event.
Charge 2-AR 175(a) with the specifics of the charge being that at Geraldton in Race 5 on the 7th November 2017 Mr Markou, at the completion of the event made a fist gesture after the winning post to Apprentice Brodie Kirby rider of the first placed STELLAR IGNITION and stablemate of MISS HARLEY QUINN which was improper.
The inquiry was adjourned with the Stewards reserving their decision on penalty.
On Monday 27 November, Mr Markou was advised that the Stewards had determined the following penalties in relation to both charges:
Charge 1 – A suspension from riding in races for a period of ten (10) weeks effective from the 25th November 2017 and to expire at midnight on the 3rd February 2018. When assessing penalty, Stewards took into account the seriousness of the offence, his prior record which showed an offence under the same rule in November 2011 for which he was suspended from riding in races for a period of six (6) weeks.
Charge 2 – Fine of $500. When determining penalty for this particular matter, based on the entirety of evidence, Stewards were of the opinion that Jockey Markou’s fist gesture to Apprentice Kirby after the race was an instantaneous reaction in jubilation when only becoming aware after passing the winning post that STELLAR IGNITION, a stablemate of MISS HARLEY QUINN had won the event and it was deemed to be a spontaneous reaction.