Shane Scriven was bracing for a lashing when he faced Racing Queensland in the wake of the whip stealing incident today but the punishment he received shocked everyone.
He was belted with a six month suspension for improper riding reduced by just one month after he pleaded guilty.
There was never any doubt as to whether the incident actually occurred with video footage clearly showing every step of the bizarre event from Scriven snatching the whip off apprentice Ben Looker right through to him handing it back after the winning post.
Scriven is expected to appeal the severity of the punishment and he certainly has plenty of support on social networking website Twitter where the news brought resounding condemnation from racing commentators.
Ralph Horowitz described the penalty as a ‘ridiculous overreaction’ and he even called on all sections of the racing media to ‘show up the decision for what it is, crap!”
It was a call echoed by most including leading jockey Kerrin McEvoy.
“Can’t believe Scriven got 5 months, a few weeks and he’d have learnt his lesson but 5 months!!!,” he tweeted.
It does seem a strange ruling from Racing Queensland which earlier this month gave a two year suspension to Bobby El-Issa on a much more serious charge of race fixing.
Regardless of precedent, if Scriven’s appeal isn’t successful he will lose all his Brisbane Winter Carnival rides including the much awaited return of Scenic Shot.
He still may ride the West-Australian in his first up contest this weekend as the ban comes into effect on Tuesday, however he won’t be able to defend the Doomben Cup title he won with Scenic Shot in 2009.
Now 42, there’s concern Scriven may never return at all to racing as he’s understandably shattered with the decision.
Looker was also suspended at the inquiry, given two weeks for not reporting the incident immediately to the stewards.