Banned Cup jockey: ‘I feel like crying’
Frankie Dettori did a bad, bad thing and he felt like crying.
Instead of lifting a trophy he's chased all of his career, one of the world's greatest hoops was punted out of the places for careless riding and slapped with an eight-day ban.
Dettori returned to scale with his head bowed after veering his mount, Master of Reality, into the path of Il Paradiso in the home straight.
"I feel like crying," the veteran jockey said, after he looked set to end a 25-year search for an elusive Melbourne Cup before it all fell apart.
It was the third time in 17 Melbourne Cup appearances Dettori had been second across the line following Central Park in 1999 and Max Dynamite in 2015, but a win had never felt further away.
At a subsequent stewards inquiry, Dettori pleaded guilty for what was deemed a low-range offence.
He will begin the ban immediately and will have to delay the start of a four-week contract to ride in Japan.
Dettori wasn't the only jockey reprimanded in a race won by Vow and Declare in a thrilling finish.
New Zealand's Michael Walker, whose horse Prince of Arran was promoted to second after the protest against Dettori, was punished for excessive whipping for the second year in a row at the Melbourne Cup.
He was fined $10,000 and suspended for seven race meetings after being found to have struck Prince of Arran 12 times before the 100m mark - seven more than the limit.
Walker admitted he'd received a text message sent pre-race warning all jockeys about whip use but got caught up by the possibility of winning the Cup.
"It's a Melbourne Cup," he told chief steward Robert Cram. "I was just seeing if I could win the race. It's not like a maiden at Echuca, it's the Melbourne Cup. My style, my thoughts … all changed. I thought I was going to get there. But at the end of the day I broke the rule.
"There's not much I can say. I broke the rule. I'm not one that generally breaks the rule in regards to the whip."
Brett Prebble was also banned for six meetings for whipping Steel Prince 10 times before the 100m mark before finishing in ninth place. Jamie Spencer was hit with a severe reprimand for whipping Raymond Tusk on successive strides, which is also against the rules.
FRANKIE DETTORI'S CUP RECORD
1993 - Drum Taps (9th), 1995 - Bullwinkle (10th), 1997 - Arabian Story (6th), 1998 - Faithful Son (7th), 1999 - Central Park (2nd), 2000 - Lightning Arrow (17th), 2001 - Marienbard (7th), 2002 - Pugin (18th), 2003 - Mamool (23rd), 2004 - Mamool (7th), 2006 - Geordieland (18th), 2010 - Holberg (6th), 2012 - Cavalryman (12th), 2015 - Max Dynamite (2nd), 2016 - Wicklow Brave (22nd), 2017 - Almandin (12th), 2019- Master Of Reality (4th - 2nd across the line, relegated on protest)