A barrister has claimed that his client, Australian jockey Jamie Kah, faces a ‘world record’ ban which will cost her over US$730,000 if not suspended after she breached Covid protocol by holding an illegal Airbnb party.
Kah is a top rider Down Under who attended the late-night bash at a luxury villa which cost almost $400 a night to rent and was reportedly trashed with blood and wine.
Living there on and off due to going through “relationship difficulties” with her fiance, she breached Victoria’s Stay at Home Covid protocol, as did others for not being within a five-mile radius of their homes while also partying past curfew.
She is already serving a three-month ban, yet Racing Victoria, through their barrister Raelene Sharp, want her to be hit with a further eight weeks after she was found guilty of giving false and/or misleading evidence last month.
Kah entered a not guilty plea in relation to charges of lying to stewards, yet Racing Victoria found that the 25-year-old omitted details of who was present at the knees-up.
Protesting her innocence at the Victorian Racing Tribunal, barrister Damian Sheales claimed Kah faces a “world record” penalty and begged for her punishment to be suspended as part of a nine-minute submission.
While sitting on the sidelines, Sheales highlighted that Kah has already missed two-money spinning races at the Spring Carnival and that the “spectacular” cost of missing the event and “public humiliation” she has received should be taken into account, in addition to the positive impact she has had on local racing.
“She took it (the penalty) on the chin,” Sheales insisted.
“She made a public statement, she has been nothing but dignified in silence since.”
“This is a massive penalty, if I may say with respect, it is not hyperbole … this is a world record penalty that she has taken on the chin,” Sheales went on.
“She’s already missed out on the rides of the winners of the only two Group 1 races this season because she was booked to ride them both.”
“They were both $1 million (US$730,000) races and without slings her percentage is $100,000 (US$73,000) so that’s a $100,000 penalty she’s already paid.”
“If those horses win … just on those three races alone and the two races already run and won, it’s a $1 million penalty and she doesn’t complain,” Sheales stressed.
“The penalty she’s paid is just spectacular, surely there comes a time where … enough is enough.”
Kah, who has amassed career earnings of millions of dollars and was one of five jockeys punished for the party, said in her Twitter statement: “I am deeply embarrassed and disappointed with myself.”
The scandal rocking Australian racing and tainting her previously clean image, she will hope that her ban is lifted or at least not extended as the authorities wish, with one eye on the Melbourne Cup in November.