Jockey drinks Champagne after £26,000 fine as furious punters demand he is stripped of win | The Sun
A JOCKEY hit with an astronomical fine after winning one of the world's richest races looked like he couldn't care less as he celebrated with Champagne hours after victory.
Mark Zahra also picked up a big ban for his ride on Caulfield Cup hero Without A Fight.
The jockey, 41, produced an absolute thriller in the 1m4f Group 1 worth £1.7million to the winner on Saturday.
But stewards noticed Zahra used the whip too many times and had no choice but to fine him a whopping £26,000.
He was also given a seven-meeting suspension which runs out on November 3 – four days before the Melbourne Cup.
Zahra won around £170,000 for his down-the-outside run on 15-2 Without A Fight in one of Australia's biggest races at Caulfield.
British father and son trainer duo Simon and Ed Crisford were second on West Wind Blows, ridden by Jamie Spencer.
The Irish jockey stayed within whip rules and lost by a head.
Some punters felt it was unfair Zahra was allowed to keep the race after breaking rules – and a few demanded he be stripped of the mega-money winner.
One said: "Should take the win off him and the trainer."
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While another wrote: "I don’t get this, he cheated but still gets the win? Shouldn’t it be stripped?"
Despite being stung in the pocket, Zahra let the celebrations hit full flow and was partying with Champagne a few hours later.
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The jockey posted a photo of himself with a bottle of £90 Ruinart and wrote alongside the snap: "How sweet it is."
Zahra's wife Elyse didn't let the fine bother her either, as she stole the show in the post-race interview.
She said she had gone through hell during the week after the horse Zahra was originally meant to ride, Gold Trip, was dramatically declared late on despite the understanding he would miss the race.
Zahra said seeing Gold Trip, the horse he won last year's Melbourne Cup on, run with another jockey on his back was like 'someone stealing your missus'.
There was further drama after a late vet test cast doubt on whether Without A Fight could run, with the horse ultimately declared fit.
A frantic Elyse said after her man's win: "You know, my husband said, 'if you have a bad dream you say it out loud and if you have a good dream you don’t say it'.
"I only told him part of my good dream, and that was that we drew barrier seven, and we drew barrier seven.
"The second part of my good dream was that we f**king won. I’m sorry, I cussed!
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"I have lost ten years of my life because not only did we deal with the Gold Trip stuff, then we dealt with Without A Fight not running…
"I already wasn’t speaking to him this week and all I said was are you OK? Are you OK? That’s all I said to him."
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