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Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Mark Zahra will present his earnings over the past three spring carnivals in his appeal against the severity of a three-month ban for attending an illegal Airbnb party.
Barrister Patrick Wheelahan, representing Zahra, said the gun jockey would plead guilty to the charge of providing false or misleading evidence, but would appeal the severity of the three-month suspension.
Mark Zahra is appealing his three-month ban for attending the illegal Airbnb party.Credit:Getty Images.
Wheelahan suggested that rather the case be heard in person, Zahra’s case could be presented to the tribunal in writing.
Wheelahan said a written submission could be made within 48 hours, along with transcripts of interviews, the COVID-19 testing regime and the test result Zahra has already received, and the prizemoney Zahra has earned over the three-month period of Melbourne’s spring racing carnival over the last three years.
In just four rides last spring – the Makybe Diva Stakes (Fierce Impact), Caulfield Cup, Turnbull Stakes and Melbourne Cup (Verry Elleegant) – Zahra collected more than $200,000 in earnings.
Fellow jockeys Ben Melham and Ethan Brown are also appealing the severity of their three-month bans for being in attendance at the Mornington Airbnb against government regulations and after curfew.
Barrister Matthew Stirling said both his clients were remorseful and apologetic but argued they went straight from the Airbnb to their home and did not mix with anyone else but jockeys at the Airbnb. Having provided two negative COVID-19 results, the two housemates don’t believe they put the racing industry at a significant risk.
Regarding the charges of providing misleading evidence to stewards regarding Zahra’s attendance, Stirling said Zahra and Brown were at the Airbnb for 16 hours, while Zahra had only been there for a couple of drinks.
Stirling has asked for audio and transcripts of the stewards’ interviews with the jockeys before making a written submission to the tribunal by Monday.
Jamie Kah’s directions hearing, regarding the charges of allegedly providing false or misleading evidence to stewards, lasted 10 minutes on Thursday.
Jamie Kah is one of five jockeys banned for COVID-19 breaches.Credit:Getty Images
Barrister Damien Sheales told the tribunal that Kah intended to reach a settlement with stewards in the next week regarding the charges, and proposed a further directions hearing for the same time next week should they be unable to reach a resolution.
Sheales had attempted to negotiate with stewards on Wednesday regarding the charges, but they had been occupied at Sandown’s mid-week race meeting.
Sheales said any evidence presented at a hearing would include three phone calls and their transcriptions.
Celine Gaudray’s master Pat Carey represented her in Thursday’s directions hearing. Carey said Gaudray was not appealing the three-month ban and is pleading guilty to the charge of allegedly providing false and misleading evidence.
All five jockeys are scheduled to reappear at the tribunal for further directions hearings next Thursday.
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