Banned jockey can still ride in Cup
DESPITE being handed a six week suspension by stewards, Coffs Harbour based jockey Matthew Bennett will still be able to ride at next week's two-day racing carnival.
The Coffs Harbour Gold Cup is being held on August 2 but Bennett's suspension doesn't start until the next day.
Stewards penalised Bennett after he was found guilty of failing to give a mount its "full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible place" at Murwillumbah on June 24.
It was Bennett's handling of $4 favourite Foreign News in a Class 3 Handicap that raised the suspicions of stewards when the Danehill Dancer gelding finished ninth, beaten by 5-1/4 lengths.
Stewards ruled between the start of the 1200 metre event until approaching the 800 metres, Bennett allowed Foreign News to settle in a position some 10 lengths off the leader Northern Pride and some five lengths off Industrialism, the runner in direct advance of his mount.
Bennett failed to improve the favourite's position leading to the home straight with his mount continuing to be positioned 10 lengths off the leader.
Once in the straight Bennett was found to have used insufficient vigour and purpose when it was reasonable and permissible for him to ride with purpose and vigour in an attempt to improve.
Stewards also found that between the 200 metres and the 100 metres when a run was available between Millhousen and Flagges Flying, following the eventual winner Private Express, he failed to ride his mount along with vigour and purpose in order to take that run when it was reasonable and permissible to do so.
The suspension was Bennett's first offence under AR135(b) in a career spanning approximately 20 years.
Bennett will be able to return to the track on September 14.