Apprentice misses Windsor winner after sleeping in

Karl Burke

Karl Burke: will appeal his £290 fine for switching riders

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By David Baxter 1:48PM 7 JUN 2016 

AN ALARM clock may be a worthwhile investment for apprentice Clifford Lee, as some tardy timekeeping cost him the chance of a victory at Windsor on Monday.


Lee, who has ridden four career winners and claims seven pounds, was due to partner Moondyne Joe for boss Karl Burke in a 5f handicap but was replaced by champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa.

The three-year-old was lifted home by De Sousa to score by a neck, and did not go unbacked, returning at 9-2 having been an 8-1 chance. While this led to cries of foul play in some quarters, Burke explained how the situation arose on Tuesday.

Poor timekeeping

“Clifford didn’t turn in for us for first lot on Saturday,” Burke said. “He overslept and was in for second lot.

“Then his agent Niall Hannity rang me on Saturday lunchtime asking if he could ride work at Southwell on Sunday morning for Keith Dalgleish. I said it was fine then on Sunday had a message from Niall saying Clifford hadn’t turned up and he’d slept in. Keith was rightly fuming and I wasn’t very happy either so he was told he wouldn’t be riding on Monday night.

“I’d already booked Silvestre for my other runner on the card although she ended up not running in the end. He was available for the last race so it made sense.”

The issue is now considered over by Burke, who added: “There’s not a big bust-up, he’s a good lad who rides well. He made a mistake and he’ll learn from it and I think I was perfectly within my rights to discipline him. He’s taken it all on board and as far as I’m concerned it’s the end of the matter.”

Planning to appeal

Burke was issued with a £290 fine by the Windsor stewards as there is no provision in the Rules of Racing for substituting a rider in order to discipline him. He is planning to appeal, and said: “I think if a trainer has an apprentice who is indentured to them, he should be able to discipline a rider and take them off. It should be a reason for a change of rider.”

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