Jockey Michael Walker said he has shut down his social media after copping online abuse following a penalty for excessive use of the whip during the Melbourne Cup.
The embattled jockey - who rode Prince of Arran and finished second - revealed he shut down his social media accounts on Wednesday after he claimed trolls targeted him and his family.
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Walker was suspended for seven meetings and fined $10,000 for breaching the whip rule, having used it 12 times before the 100m mark at the Melbourne Cup.
That is seven times more than the regulations permit.
Racing Victoria texted all jockeys before the race, warning them that severe penalties would be handed down to anyone in breach of the rules.
But the jockey was visibly downbeat the next day and said he copped “very cruel” abuse on social media following the penalty.
"I put a post up yesterday on Facebook for my daughter's birthday and some cruel person went and edited that post and asked how would my daughter like to be hit, how would my mother, my wife - I am not married - but my partner, like to be hit," Walker told Racing.com.
"I've copped a lot of abuse from people that don't know me."— Racing.com (@Racing) November 6, 2019
Michael Walker is emotional after the abuse he has received after his Melbourne Cup ride on Prince Of Arran. pic.twitter.com/32EJgAUEIU
“[It is] very cruel so I've gone off all social media and I don't know when I will go back on.
"I've copped a lot of abuse from people that don't know me. I am pretty flat today."
Many jumped on social media to defend the jockey.
Strong interview post race Michael Walker talking about what he has had to deal with on social media over the past 24hours... raw stuff from a man who has been through a lot already in his life.. #respectcuz— Dean Pettit (@deanpet74) November 6, 2019
Only shows the true colours of these so called 'caring' protesters... Sickening stuff. Stick with it Michael as we all know they will be gone for another 12 months in a couple of days. 💪👋— Looooongshot (@looooongshot) November 6, 2019
Shame to hear what he has gone through. Some people are just horrible :(— brad davidson (@braddavo) November 6, 2019
The abuse of Jockey Michael Walker just tells us what this country is all about #GetALife— Ricky Nixon (@rickynixontoot) November 6, 2019
‘I lost my mind’: Walker
Walker was at a loss to explain himself to stewards after the race.
"I had thoughts of winning the Melbourne Cup," Walker told stewards.
"I lost my style, I lost my balance and I lost my mind."
Third across the line, Prince Of Arran was elevated to second behind Vow And Declare after a stewards' protest.
As Walker was leaving home for Tuesday's meeting, he promised his daughter Layla that he would win the Melbourne Cup for her birthday.