British jockey Tom Marquand was hit with a fine for breaking coronavirus protocols while racing in Australia after celebrating a Group One win with a hug.
The up-and-coming rider was triumphant aboard the William Haggas-trained Addeybb in the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick racecourse in Sydney, which had a winning prize-pot of over £674,300.
However, Racing New South Wales fined the jockey A$2,000 (£1,000) after he embraced the horse’s groom, Safid Alam – who was fined A$500 (£250) – in the winner’s enclosure.
“I got off the horse and gave Safid a slap on the shoulder, then we hugged without even thinking about it to be honest,” Tom told H&H. “Emotions were running high and I guess they just got the better of me. As soon as we hugged I thought ‘oh no, we’re in trouble’.
“The stewards weren’t overly hard on us they just went through the usual steward enquiry process – after all, they had to be seen to be doing something,” added Tom, who has now returned to the UK and is making the most of lockdown with cycling and DIY jobs alongside jockey girlfriend Hollie Doyle.
“Racing in Australia is continuing behind closed doors. Luckily at Randwick, they had several jockey rooms for us to get changed in and we just had to speak to the trainers across a fence, keeping a distance,” he added.
“They have tough rules but it seems to be working well. I know that the Australian authorities have been liaising with British racing about how we can make it work behind closed doors over here, but obviously we do have a different structure of racing in the UK.”
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