VICTORIAN star Jesaulenko will be free to compete in Saturday’s Group 2 Warragul Cup heats after owner-trainer Terri Morris successfully appealed a marring charge penalty with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Marring, commonly known as ‘fighting’ is an offence whereby a greyhound makes head or muzzle contact with another greyhound throughout a race.
Jesaulenko received his second marring charge when running second in the 2016 Group 1 Melbourne Cup behind Ando’s Mac, an offence for which he received a 90-day suspension at all tracks.
Morris decided to appeal the suspension, claiming Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) had failed to expunge her greyhound’s previous marring charge, which occurred back in March 2016, despite her request.
Under GAR70, once a greyhound which has received a marring charge has competed in at least 10 races satisfactorily without re-offending, the trainer can apply to have the previous charge wiped from the dog’s record.
This would mean if the greyhound did re-offend later on, it would only receive the penalty handed down for a first-time offence which is a 28-day suspension at the track where it marred.
However, in Jesaulenko’s case, Morris says GRV did not remove the first charge when contacted, thus resulting in the hefty three-month suspension.
With Jesaulenko nearing three-and-a-half years of age, Morris said a three-month penalty could have had a detrimental effect on the remainder of his career.
“I had applied and asked for it to be removed but [GRV] had not done that so they were brought to task and thankfully the VCAT ruled that it should have been removed,” she said.
“He had close to 30 starts between offences – so that is a lot of racing considering the length of a dog’s career.
“I wouldn’t have retired him even if we weren’t successful because he just loves racing, but it is a long time to have to spend on the sidelines.
“It’s a good result for the dog – we went into the VCAT hearing fairly confident of a positive outcome so it was a relief.”
With the previous penalty expunged, Jesaulenko’s penalty for marring in the Melbourne Cup was reduced to a 28-day suspension at Sandown Park only.
Jesaulenko will not have to perform a satisfactory trial prior to this weekend, having done so at Warragul when being granted a stay of proceedings by the VCAT in December.
Additionally, given that the son of College Causeway and Elite Fairy had served 20 days prior to his clearance trial, he will only have to serve just over a week more before being eligible to trial and be cleared for racing at Sandown Park again.
It was the first time a trainer has successfully appealed a marring charge through VCAT and, Morris says despite being a long, drawn out process, it was rewarding to have reached the desired outcome.
“I don’t know if it’s his name or what it is but he definitely has been very closely watched,” she said.
“I would encourage anyone who has any doubts – don’t be scared – use the process available if you believe your dog has been hard done by.
“These options are there for a reason – so by all means go for it.”
Jesaulenko will contest the first of five Warragul Cup heats this Saturday night and comes up against last start Devonport Cup winner Pantera Nera.
He is currently a $13 chance with Bet365 to land the $47,000-to-the-winner final on January 28, with the current favourite being champion chaser Zambora Brockie at $3.
Group 2 Warragul Cup – series winner
Zambora Brockie $3
Aston Bolero $7.50
Aston Dee Bee $8.50
Ando’s Mac $10
Pantera Nera $10
Jesaulenko $13 with Bet365
Zabdon Ferrari $13
Ultimate Magic $13
Shima Song $21
Your Shout Punk $21
Blazin’ Bomber $21
Sleek Master $21
Shytown Hussler $26
Proven Kodiak $26
Shez Sublime $26
Paddy’s Magic $34
Black Mumbo $34
Mystery Ride $41
Aqua Cheetah $41
Dundee Osprey $51
Nitro Swagger $67
Zipping Arnold $67
Super Sook $67
Nangar Range $81
Mumma Josie $81
Hyundai Hawk $151
Crackerjack Choc $151
Wynburn Alpha $151
Cry Later $201
Night King $201
He’s Some Love $201
Dr. Sherlock $301
Dr. Yanma $301
Zall Good $501
Brooklyn Cruiser $1001
Precious Quality $1001