Jockey Chris Hayes facing minimum six-day ban in whip hearing
Jockey relieved any ban won’t stop him riding Madhmoon in Epsom Derby
Chris Hayes on Madhmoon wins the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown in September. “You’d imagine ten furlongs will be no problem to him. As for the next two we’ll find out on Derby day.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Jockey Chris Hayes is facing a minimum six-day ban in an upcoming whip hearing but is happy it won’t interfere with important big race rides that include Madhmoon in the Epsom Derby.
The classic-winning rider is the first jockey sent on to face a referrals committee hearing under controversial new whip rules introduced last month by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board.
Those rules include provision for an automatic stewards enquiry once a jockey uses his whip nine times or more in a race. Riders are automatically referred when breaching the rules four times or more in a 12 month period with a minimum six-day suspension imposed in such circumstances.
After initially being cautioned, Hayes picked up two penalties on a single day at Gowran just over a week ago. He got one day for frequency on Sherkali and another two on Scorpion Black for the same rule breach.
On Saturday Hayes won the Group Three Blue Wind Stakes on the Aga Khan’s Tarnawa at Naas but afterwards the filly was found to be marked from the whip. The stewards sent the matter on for a referrals committee panel to consider.
Any hearing is likely to be held next week and, with penalties beginning two weeks after they’re imposed, Hayes doesn’t anticipate problems with him riding Madhmoon in the Derby.
“Whenever the referral will be it’ll be two weeks from that date. With the amount of racing this week, and other engagements I have, I won’t get to deal with it this week. Two weeks from this weekend is the Derby so I’d imagine everything will be fine,” he said on Monday.
The number of penalties handed out in connection with the whip has accelerated in the last week and Hayes concedes he has found the new regulations frustrating at times.
“They are what they are and we can’t do anything except try to adjust. I’m obviously frustrated I’m the first one. My own suspensions were one over the limit and you’re going to be frustrated there isn’t more leeway. But they’re the rules and we have to abide by them. I’m going to get a hefty ban so I’ll have plenty time to practise!
“But it is difficult to adjust. I’m riding the last 18 years, riding a specific way and all of a sudden you’re told that’s changing on Tuesday and you have to change. In fairness to the stewards they remind us every day but in the heat of the moment you can get caught up and go one over,” Hayes said.
The Weld-trained Tarnawa is as low as 14-1 in some ante-post lists for the Epsom Oaks after her Blue Wind victory. Her stable companion, the Tetrarch winner Shelir, is 10-1 for the Irish 2,000 Guineas next weekend.
Madhmoon is as low as 10-1 also to secure Derby glory for 86-year-old Prendergast at Epsom on June 1st. The Derby was the one English classic his father, Paddy Prendergast, failed to win during his legendary career.
The son of Dawn Approach finished fourth to Magna Grecia in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month when always appearing to struggle from a stall one draw.
“I don’t think for one minute there was a track bias. There was a pace bias. Everyone around me was stepping up in trip and were always going to be cagey about going forward. The three on the other side were proven at the trip and just jumped and went.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t with them. I’d never have beaten the winner but I’d possibly have been a good second,” Hayes said.
As for the mile and a half at Epsom, he added: “I always thought he wanted further. The boss [Prendergast] always had it in his head he wanted further. That’s why he started over a mile as a two year old. You’d imagine ten furlongs will be no problem to him. As for the next two we’ll find out on Derby day.”