Racing Victoria (RV) Stewards have issued three charges against licensed jockey Mitch Aitken following an inquiry into potential breaches of Racing Victoria’s COVID-19 protocols.
Mr Aitken has been issued two charges under AR 232(b) (Charge 1 and Charge 2) and one charge under AR232(i) (Charge 3).
AR232(b) states that a person must not fail or refuse to comply with an order, direction or requirement of the Stewards or an official.
AR 232(i) states that a person must not give any evidence at an interview, investigation, inquiry, hearing and/or appeal which is false or misleading.
Provided below is a summary of the charges issued against Mr Aitken:
Charge 1: AR 232(b) - Failure to comply with an order or direction
Racing Victoria’s COVID-19 Jockey Protocols state that jockeys in the Green Team are required to separate themselves from jockeys not in the Green Team at race meetings ‘as much as possible’.
On 29 August 2020, Mr Aitken, who is a member of the Green Team, was engaged to ride Zippy in Race 3 at Warracknabeal.
Prior to weighing out for Race 3, the Stewards allege that Mr Aitken approached an apprentice jockey in the Gold Team and took possession of his saddle.
The Stewards accordingly allege that he failed to separate himself as much as possible from a non-Green Team jockey on raceday and was therefore in breach of AR 232(b).
Charge 2: AR 232(b) - Failure to comply with an order or direction
Racing Victoria’s COVID-19 Protocols for Industry Participants and Service Providers (RV Protocols) state that licensed participants must comply with any local, state or federal government law, requirement, order or direction (where it relates to the COVID-19 Pandemic).
On 28 August 2020, subject to some exceptions, the Victorian Government prevented persons from entering a premises at which they did not ordinarily reside in Metropolitan Melbourne.
On that day, the Stewards allege that Mr Aitken entered and stayed overnight at a friend’s house in Metropolitan Melbourne that he does not ordinarily reside in, and the purpose of his stay did not fall within one of the exceptions.
The Stewards allege that the conduct of Mr Aitken constituted a breach of the RV Protocols and was therefore a contravention of AR 232(b).
Charge 3: AR 232(i) – False and/or misleading evidence
On 29 August 2020, Mr Aitken was interviewed by the Stewards with regards to weighing out for Race 3 at Warracknabeal.
The Stewards allege that evidence provided by Mr Aitken during that interview was false and/or misleading.
The charges will be heard by the Victorian Racing Tribunal on a date to be fixed.