FORMER Koroit trainer James McNamara has been found not guilty by the Victoria Racing tribunal of preventing one of his horses from running on its merits but he was fined $500 for a charge of misconduct.
Jumps jockey Paul Hamblin was found guilty and suspended for four weeks by the VRT following an investigation by Racing Victoria stewards into the performance of Hornets' Nest in a hurdle at Casterton on June 29.
His suspension commenced at midnight on Monday night, meaning he will be free to ride in the $300,000 Jericho Cup at Warrnambool on December 1.
McNamara, who handed in his trainers licence after he was charged by the stewards, told The Standard he was relieved the case was over.
"I've been cleared of the charge and I'm relieved," he said. "It's been a very stressful time for my family and my friends. I feel very sorry for Paul. I don't think he was guilty and I'll go to my grave with that opinion.
"I handed in my licence a few months ago and I will not be going back to training. I'll cop the $500 fine for abusing the stewards once they told me about the charge."
The VRT panel was headed by Judge John Bowman, John Doherty and former champion jockey Greg Childs.
The stewards alleged Hamblin's riding of Hornets' Nest was contrary to rules in that he failed between approximately the 1200m and the 800m mark to improve his position and maintain contact with the field.
They also alleged that between approximately the 800m mark and jumping the last obstacle Hamblin did not ride his mount with sufficient vigour to improve their position.
The stewards also allege that McNamara's instructions to Hamblin prior to the race contributed to his breach of the rules.
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