Jockey Joseph Azzopardi suspended for six weeks for causing horror fall

A jockey has been suspended for six weeks for his role in the horror fall that forced the abandonment of the Perth Cup and resulted in the death of a horse.

Chili Is Hot had to be euthanised in front of around 10,000 spectators after the fall, which happened about 200m into the race. The race was abandoned for the first time in its 136-year history.

Another horse, Dom To Shoot, suffered abrasions and was found to be slightly lame in the off-foreleg, while jockeys Peter Knuckey and Jordan Turner were lucky to escape injury after the incident.

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The fall was triggered when Chili is Hot clipped the heels of the horse in front of her, Buster Bash.

Buster Bash’s rider, Joseph Azzopardi, pleaded guilty to careless riding for shifting outwards when not clear of Chili Is Hot.

“A suspension of six weeks to a professional jockey is a very large penalty, it effectively deprives him of his livelihood for that period,” said Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) chief racing integrity officer Denis Borovica

“The location of where this incident occurred is what required the race to be called off, as the field was going to have to traverse that section of track on the second lap.”

Perth Racing boss James Olding has defended running the last race at Ascot after the abandoned Perth Cup, but conceded moving the dead horse down the home straight in front of spectators should not have happened.

“People were there to see racing,” he said.

“The racing industry is a high risk sport. Racing goes on despite incidents such as the cup tragedy.

“We will have another look at our procedures, when taking action after another race fall tragedy that costs a horse’s life. We must have a better arrangement to transport a deceased horse with dignity and away from an upset crowd.

“There was a lot of pressure on officials to make quick decisions after Chili Is Hot was euthanised. She should have been taken the other way, along the back straight instead of down the home straight.”

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