That's wrong, says Dr Wright! ... questions stewards' authority to determine rider's mental state
RACEHORSE owner and breeder, Dr Paul Wright, has questioned the authority of the stewards of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC) to determine jockey Aaron Chatrie's state of mind, which led to them standing him down from his remaining mounts at Caymanas Park last Saturday.
Dr Wright has referred to Rule 7d of the Jamaica Racing Commission Act, which authorises the stewards, "To suspend a person from performing his duties at a race or race meeting after considering medical opinion on the person's health."
"They made a medical opinion on a jockey's potential to earn a living, based on non-medical evidence. That is a restraint of trade. It is the man's living. You made a medical decision with no training. The doctor on duty was next door the stewards. Do they know whether he is a trained psychiatrist or has any training in psychiatry?" asked Wright, who previously served as doctor on duty at the racetrack for 14 years.
Operation steward Eustace Williams, who said Chatrie had engaged in "ungentlemanly behaviour" and was deemed "a danger to himself and others", has countered Wright's referral to Rule 7d, saying the section speaks to physical health, not mental state, which, he said, turned out to be "a judgement call".
"We saw his behaviour and how he appeared. He could have been a danger to himself, other persons and horses. It was basically a judgement call that we had to make," he explained.
Williams yesterday pointed to Rule 7i, which empowers the stewards, "To take such action, in advance, as they may regard as necessary to prevent an infringement of the Rules."
Wright remained adamant, however, that Chatrie was denied the right to earn a living based on non-medical evidence.
"As far as I know, the stewards of a race meet cannot declare a man unfit unless they get an opinion from a duly qualified medical person, after examination and diagnosis. He is then to be sent off, immediately, to a tertiary institution for further expert opinion," he stated.
Only doctors allowed
"The jockey signs a contract to ride a horse. The only person who can take him down is a doctor. The retainer is a contract that states, I am going to ride your horse. That information is published in the race form and newspapers. People bet based on which jockey is riding which horse.
"Chatrie was down to ride SEEKING HOPE. He was replaced by Orlando Foster, who, on form, can in no way be compared to Chatrie," Wright lamented.
Meanwhile, Chatrie, who was on Tuesday slapped with a 10-day ban for the incident, in addition to $20,000 in fines, lodged an appeal with the JRC on Wednesday. He was fined $10,000 for the WOMAN IS BOSS disqualification and an equal sum for the previous week's disqualification of BOLD AVIATOR.
Chatrie has asked for a reduction in his sentence as well as a stay of execution, which would allow him to resume riding, pending appeal. The jockey's ask for a stay of execution was in line to be heard by the commission yesterday.