Punt Drunk: Trainer gags jockey & trainers!

Punt Drunk is back for another year, and boy oh boy, hasn’t 2024 begun with a bit of a bang!

The Magic Millions Carnival continues to grow, the good horses are starting to reappear at the trials, and the beers are going down as well as ever!

Here’s to a winning 2024.

Ottobre ‘gags’ Maher & Eustace and Declan Bates

Tony Ottobre (middle) celebrating with Declan Bates after (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Racing Photos)

Alright, this is not exactly a headline we expected to see on our bingo card for 2024.

It isn’t in a kinky way either that prominent owner Tony Ottobre has “gagged” his trainers and jockeys, but more making a stance.

Ottobre, known for owning the ‘Jenni’ horses typically racing in Victoria, has banned jockeys and trainers caring for his horses from talking to Racing.com while Racing Victoria chief executive Andrew Jones is still in charge.

It ties back to the GoFund Me page that Ottobre set up for the late Dean Holland in April last year, with Ottobre contributing $100,000 of his own money to kickstart the fund.

It is believed that one of Jones’ management team reached out to Ottobre with the suggestion of putting the large amount of money into a trust fund for Holland’s family.

However, Ottobre was adamant that the funds would go directly to Dean’s family.

Racing Victoria has denied any wrongdoing, but with the ongoing dispute, there may be no post-race interviews with jockey or trainer if Pride Of Jenni goes on to win the Victorian showcase race of their autumn carnival, the All Star Mile.

Zac Lloyd needs a fresh start

Kalapour ridden by Zac Lloyd on the way to the barriers prior to the running of the 2023 Melbourne Cup at Flemington. (Photo by George Sal/Racing Photos)

Suspensions and Zac Lloyd are starting to become more of a certainty than Winx.

The young-gun hoop continues to find himself in trouble with RacingNSW stewards, and on Saturday he picked up yet another suspension.

Since moving to Sydney in May 2022, Lloyd has been suspended on more than 13 occasions and risks missing some key rides for Godolphin during the spring.

Apprenticed through Godolphin, Zac is no doubt one of, if not the best, apprentice in the country, but he is a walking suspension at the moment.

Could a change-up be what he needs? Should Cummings send his energetic hoop to Melbourne for the autumn?

Learn from a different jockey’s room, they do say a change is as good as holiday…

Lloyd currently sits fifth on the NSW Metro Jockey Premiership table, having ridden 28 winners in town since August 1, 2023.

Punt Drunk

About Punt Drunk

Welcome to Punt Drunk – our weekly column covering all the latest horse racing and punting controversies, dramas and headline news. Have a story or gripe or issue that just grinds your gears? Just hit us up in the comments or contact us page and our jaded, punt hardened Punt Drunk staff will give it the Punt Drunk treatment it deserves. Don’t expect pleasantries or typical racing media fanboy gloss from Punt Drunk – we’re on the punt and we don’t have time to bullshit; the next is about to jump…

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