Star jockeys Jamie Kah and Ben Melham will miss the Spring Carnival after being hit with three-month bans for an illegal gathering in Mornington.
The multiple Group One winners, along with young guns Ethan Brown and Celine Gaudray, copped the sanction on Friday following a closed Stewards inquiry.
It comes as the quartet was fined more than $5000 by Victoria Police for the breach of Chief Medical Officer directions.
All four jockeys pleaded guilty to their respective charges in relation to the COVID breach.
Stewards heard submissions on penalty and after doing so took into consideration the guilty pleas, each of the riders’ personal circumstances, that this was their first offence of this nature, that any suspension this time of year includes missing feature race meetings, and that the individuals expressed remorse.
The Stewards also took into consideration the serious nature of the offending, the potential severe ramifications that could flow from a breach of Racing Victoria’s COVID-19 Protocols, and that the penalty must be sufficient enough to deter others from breaching COVID-19 protocols.
The penalty had to publicly address the seriousness of the offending and make clear that compliance with COVID-19 protocols is non-negotiable. The suspensions are effective immediately, and will expire on November 25.
The jockeys will be allowed to participate in trackwork, jump-outs and official trials once the 14-day stand-down order from the CMO concludes on September 9.
All four jockeys have been advised of their rights of appeal, which they must lodge within 72 hours with the Victorian Racing Tribunal.
In a later statement, Kah accepted her punishment