Orville Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Newly crowned champion jockey Dane Nelson was on Tuesday slapped with a 10 raceday suspension and $10,000 fine by the stewards for his failure to ride HOGANS HERO on its merit in the sixth race at Caymanas Park on Saturday, January 5.
Highly fancied at odds of 2-1 in the 1600-metre race for maiden four-year-olds and up, HOGANS HERO failed by a short head to catch 4-5 favourite SOCIAL BUTTERFLY, but the stewards were not satisfied with the ride.
After viewing the patrol film of the race in question and hearing submissions from Nelson and his representative, Ed Barnes, at the Winchester Road offices of the Commission, the operations stewards imposed the suspension and fine.
The suspension takes effect on Saturday, February 16. This means Nelson will be out of the saddle until April 1.
However, when contacted yesterday Nelson, who is popularly called 'The Warrior King' owing to his aggressive riding style, was not prepared to say much, owing to the fact that he has lodged an appeal. He said, though, that he never expected that outcome.
"I was surprised by the decision, seeing that both horses went down to the wire," he said.
"I have since appealed the decision of the stewards and is awaiting a date for this to be heard," he added.
A 2002 graduate of the Jockeys' School, Nelson, 28, emerged cham-pion jockey for the first time last year with 124 wins. He rode four winners on Saturday to be joint leader in the standings with former champion Omar Walker, both with 11 wins. To date he has ridden 629 winners.