Sydney apprentice Taylor Lovelock-Wiggins has been suspended indefinitely after he failed to attend Wednesday’s Warwick Farm meeting where he was scheduled to ride Capital Commander in the second race of the day.
The Busby Handicap was a heat of the Rising Star Series for apprentice riders, however as all the apprentices on course had rides in that race, stewards were forced to allow Nathan Berry, a fully-fledged jockey, to ride in the race.
Lovelock Wiggins has been stood down by stewards until an inquiry can be arranged. He has already been stood down from engagements at Canberra on Friday and Rosehill on Saturday.
NSW Deputy Chief Steward Marc Van Gestel said that stewards were unsuccessful in their attempts to contact Lovelock-Wiggins on the morning of the race.
“There was no notification to stewards that he wasn’t going to ride today, we were notified 30 minutes before the race that he hadn’t arrived on course,” Van Gestel said.
“There were no other apprentices available on course and the conditions of the series allow us as a last resort to engage the services of a senior rider if there is no other apprentice available, so that’s what we did.
“He has been stood down until such time as he fronts a stewards’ inquiry into the matter.”
The Nick Olive trained Capital Commander finished third in the race, which was taken out by the Gai Waterhouse trained Essence of Success.
“I’m pleased the horse got to go around because for a little while there I didn’t know if she was going to be able to,” Olive said.
“All the owners had travelled here and the horse had come up from Canberra so it would have been disappointing if she had to be starched.”
Despite the fact that he was relieved to have his horse run in the race, Olive is said to have been furious that his horse was forced to run in the race with a non-claiming apprentice.
This incident comes just a week after stewards gave Lovelock-Wiggins special permission to increase his minimum riding weight from 52kg to 53.5kg after the young hoop provided medical evidence that he was experiencing health issues because he was constantly wasting to reach his declared weight.