Stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club on Friday fined jockey Greg Childs HK$300,000 (about US$$37,514) for breaching rules of racing by "engaging in conduct prejudicial to the good reputation of horse racing in Hong Kong."
The action stems from a conversation Childs reportedly had with another rider, Justin Sheehan, prior to the Hong Kong Mile on Dec. 17 and Childs' reported post-race public comments about the conversation with Sheehan. Childs rode the top New Zealand mare Sunline to victory in the Mile; Sheehan finished third aboard Adam.
The Dec. 19 Sydney Morning Herald
quoted Childs as saying, "I spoke to Justin and said, 'Look, we can't cut each others throat and challenge for the lead.' Justin agreed. I just told him to follow me. He (Sheehan) knew Adam wouldn't have been able to beat Sunline, she is world-class, but it worked out perfect for everyone."
According to the HKJC, the Morning Herald
reported Dec. 21: "In an article on the Hong Kong Mile horse race, Darren Prendergast misinterpreted comments by the winning jockey, Greg Childs, as an admission by Childs that he had devised a race plan with another jockey, J. Sheehan, who rode the third-place horse. Childs made no such admission. The Herald apologizes to Childs and Sheehan for any embarrassment caused."
As part of its exhaustive inquiry, the HKJC interviewed jockeys and trainers of other horses that ran in the Mile and also examined the running pattern of Adam in his previous races this year.
While Childs was adamant that he never made the comments to Sheehan that were attributed to him in the article, the jockey did agree that he spoke with Sheehan prior to he race, according to the HKJC. Childs also acknowledged that he had an off-the-record conversation with an Australian journalist and two other people then unknown to him while at the Conrad Hotel the night following the Mile.
The HKJC concluded that Childs violated racing rules in two parts:
--"That at some time prior to the running of the Hong Kong Mile run at Sha Tin on 17 December 2000, as the rider of Sunline, he spoke with J. Sheehan, the rider of Adam, in the stated race in an attempt to ensure that J. Sheehan rode his mount in a manner, which although not designed in any way to affect its performance, would not prejudice the chances of his mount Sunline."
--"That subsequent to the Hong Kong International race meeting held at Sha Tine on 17 December 2000, he made public to a group of persons, which included Australian journalists, a conversation he had had with jockey J. Sheehan at some time prior to the running of the Hong Kong Mile."
Considering his record over a 22-year period, Childs asked the stewards not to impose any suspension but to levy any disciplinary action in the form of a fine.
(HKJC, Text of ruling