Jockeys call for end to uncertainty over chief steward position in Tasmania

An investigation into the conduct of chief thoroughbred steward Anthony O’Connell should be finalised “as a matter of urgency”, according to the Tasmanian Jockeys Association.

GREY POWER: Steel Moon, ridden by Chris Graham, wins at Spreyton on Sunday. He is entered for the $30,000 Autumn Classic at Mowbray this week. Picture: Greg Mansfield

GREY POWER: Steel Moon, ridden by Chris Graham, wins at Spreyton on Sunday. He is entered for the $30,000 Autumn Classic at Mowbray this week. Picture: Greg Mansfield

O’Connell has been stood down since March pending an inquiry into alleged breaches of the code of conduct.

Anthony O'Connell

Anthony O'Connell

TJA general manager Kevin Ring believes uncertainty over the chief steward position is damaging confidence within the racing industry.

With the Office Of Racing Integrity yet to issue any statement on the matter, Ring has taken his concerns to the government.

He wrote to Racing Minister Jeremy Rockliff last week stating that his members were concerned the inquiry was dragging on for too long.

His letter said that, with O’Connell absent from his position, jockeys and other participants had “little confidence in the control and decision-making going forward.”

“The Minister’s office has acknowledged receipt of my letter but he is yet to reply,” Ring said.

“I have received no reply from the shadow minister’s office.”

Ring said at the time O’Connell was stood down that he believed the complaints against the chief steward did not relate to the running of race meetings or integrity issues.

He said the TJA was “disgusted” with the way the matter was handled, as O’Connell had been informed of the complaints only days after returning to work following a serious medical condition that required surgery.

Ring predicted there would be people “left with egg on their faces.”

In his letter to the minister, Ring said he was aware there were a number of issues and complaints and that due process had to be followed.

“But at present we have a panel of stewards that is quite inexperienced and there is no guidance for the team to improve their skills going forward,” he said.

Ring described O’Connell as a “highly skilled and very professional” steward.

“He is stern but fair and also approachable,” Ring said.

VETERAN sprinter Riziz, who is part-owned by Maurice and Jenny Mace, of Launceston, will have his fourth start in the $1 million Goodwood Handicap at Morphettville on Saturday.

His best finish was a third to Smokin’ Joey and Platelet in 2014.