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Jockey caught drink-riding wins appeal on suspension

A jockey caught riding with a blood alcohol level over the permissible limit on the Sunshine Coast has his career back on track after winning an appeal against a one-month riding ban.

Jockey Jay Thomas Tex Drakely was handed the suspension after returning positive blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings during random tests by Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) stewards at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club on 29 November 2019.

Drakely, 34, pleaded guilty to a charge of exceeding the BAC threshold allowed under the Australian Rules of Racing at a stewards’ inquiry two days later, but subsequently requested the QRIC review the month-long suspension meted out.

He then applied to the Queensland Civil Administration Tribunal (QCAT) for further review of the matter when QRIC’s internal review resulted in the riding ban being lifted two-weeks into the month-long ban.

QCAT member Vass Poteri, in a recently published four-page decision, set aside the initial penalty, substituting it with a $500 fine and a wholly suspended two-week suspension.

The tribunal had been told Drakely, who had worked as a track rider since the age of 16, consumed about six stubbies of beer the night before he returned BAC readings of 0.031% and 0.023% during steward tests after 3.30am the following day.

Australian Rules of Racing’s permitted BAC riding threshold for jockeys is 0.02%.

Mr Vass said: “Breath tests carried out by the stewards were random breath tests on all riders at the track…(and) there were no issues with the riding of Mr Drakely (at the time).

“Taking into account the personal circumstances of Mr Drakely, his normal riding (on the day), his cooperation (with stewards), his early guilty plea, his unblemished previous riding record, his understanding that he was not in breach of any rules and the very low alcohol readings, it is my view that any period of suspension is excessive.

“I believe that a monetary penalty of $500 is more appropriate and the full effect of any suspension should be stayed.”

He ordered the two-week suspension be wholly suspended for a period of two years.

Full decision

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