- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Top jockey Jamie Kah will be a notable absentee from the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday as she continues to serve a controversial suspension for breaking Covid-19 rules.
Kah was the talk of Australia at the Melbourne Cup last year as the only female jockey in the race that stops the nation.
She steered Prince of Arran to a third-place finish, not quite emulating Michelle Payne's famous victory aboard Prince of Penzance in 2015 but doing herself proud nonetheless.
'MELBOURNE CUP 2021': Horse-by-horse guide to the great race
'DYING A SLOW DEATH': Melbourne Cup interest at all-time low
Kah would have been in the great race this year as well if not for a five-month suspension she received after breaching Victoria Covid-19 restrictions by gathering at a rented apartment during lockdown in August.
Kah, Ben Melham, Ethan Brown and apprentice jockey Celine Gaudray were each fined $5452 and had their racing licenses suspended until November 26.
However Kah received an extra two-month ban for allegedly giving misleading evidence during a Racing Victoria inquiry into the scandal.
The 25-year-old has since taken the case to the Supreme Court of Victoria, claiming she answered all questions honestly.
As it stands, she is currently suspended until 2022 and will therefore miss the entire spring racing carnival - a brutal blow that could reportedly cost her about $1 million.
The four riders also pleaded guilty to charges laid by racing stewards of "failure or refusal to comply with an order, direction, or requirement of the stewards or an official".
In July, Kah became the first jockey to register 100 wins in Victorian metropolitan races in a single season.
She posted a statement on Twitter to apologise for breaking the state’s pandemic restrictions, which included a night curfew from 9pm and a ban on people traveling more than 5km from their homes.
“I am deeply embarrassed and disappointed with myself,” Kah said.
“There is no excuse for what I have done and I have let myself down, my family and friends, the racing industry and all Victorians who are doing the right thing in this lockdown.
"I deserve the penalty handed down by the stewards and will take the time to reflect on my actions and its impact on so many people."
Rachel King only female jockey in Melbourne Cup
Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson condemned the riders' actions at the time and said it put the industry at unnecessary risk.
"These individuals could have put at risk the very continuance of our sport and also blatantly disregarded the broader community implications through their selfish and thoughtless actions," he said.
The state's horse racing authority added: “The penalty must also be seen to publicly address the seriousness of the offending and make clear that compliance with the Covid-19 protocols is non-negotiable."
Kah’s absence from Tuesday's race means Rachel King, riding Pondus, is the only female jockey in the field.
King said she wasn’t sure if she would seek out out Kah for advice on how to tackle the great race.
“Jamie and I get on well but she is away from racing at the moment, I won’t want to impose on her too much,” King told Racenet.
Owner Lloyd Williams has full faith in King.
“We have gone for Rachel King to ride him at 52.5kg. I’ve noticed (Godolphin trainer) James Cummings uses her a lot,” Williams said.
“Rachel is very well balanced, she looks good sitting on the horses.
"I’ve been around for 60 years with horses and a lot of the girls look better than the boys.”
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.