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Kah gets green light for awards night, Zahra looks at more time

“RV ultimately determined that Ms Kah would remain eligible for any premiership, medal or award in the 2020-21 racing season which concluded on 31 July 2021 on the basis that her breach of the Rules of Racing did not occur during that season and it did not bring into question the integrity of any races.

“RV further noted that any revocation would see Ms Kah’s historic achievements in the 2020-21 racing season officially removed from racing’s history books and that, in its opinion, Ms Kah had already been appropriately penalised for her breach of the Rules of Racing.

“Accordingly, Ms Kah will retain the 2020-21 Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys Premiership and be eligible for any other awards to be presented at the 2021 Victorian Racing Awards.”

However the champion rider will, as a result of her suspension, be ineligible to win any awards in the current season.

She has not appealed against her three-month suspension for the COVID-19 breach, but a case against her on a charge of providing false or misleading evidence to stewards about who was at the Mornington party will be heard by the Victorian Racing Tribunal on Monday.

At a directions hearing on Thursday her lawyer, Damien Sheales, said that her case needed to be dealt with speedily as there were “things going on in the background that really now make this more pressing”.

Sheales did not go into detail, merely stressing on more than one occasion to Judge John Bowman, the VRT chair, that the matter had to be attended to urgently.

Meanwhile, Zahra has also been banned for three months for the same COVID-19 breach but he could also face extra time for lying to the stewards.

When he was initially contacted by stewards he said he had not been at the Mornington party.

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However, several hours later he contacted them and told them that he had, explaining to chief steward Robert Cram that he had been untruthful earlier because his wife “was right there” when Cram initially rung and that he had wanted to tell her “before it hit the press”.

As a result Zahra, like the others, now faces a charge of bringing false or misleading evidence about the events at the illegal Airbnb gathering.

RV’s written submission to the VRT was released to the public on Thursday and the organisation said it felt Zahra deserved a further two months suspension for lying about his presence at the gathering, although they said they were happy to see one of those months served alongside his current penalty.

Zahra is appealing both the severity of his initial three-month ban, citing a potential loss of earnings over the spring carnival period, and is contesting the charge of providing false or misleading evidence because, he argues, he needed to tell his family first before coming clean about his attendance at the Mornington party.

Two other riders, Melham and Ethan Brown, are pleading not guilty to the charges of giving false and misleading evidence to stewards, and while they plead guilty to the COVID-19 breach both men are appealing the severity of their bans.

The hearing involving Celine Gaudray will be on Friday morning. She has not appealed against her three-month ban.

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