Whip-happy jockey fined for animal cruelty

Whip-happy jockey fined for animal cruelty
Swedish star jockey Robert Bergh has been fined the equivalent of 40 days' wages for excessive use of his whip at a harness race in November 2007.

The Court of Appeal overturned a district court ruling clearing the jockey of any wrongdoing after several harness racing fans reported Bergh for repeatedly whipping his horse Citera with a rod and reins.

Berg was issued with a 30-day ban from the sports’ governing body in the wake of the incident at the Bergsåker racecourse in northern Sweden. The disciplinary body of Svenska Travsportens Centralförbund (STC) found that Bergh had overstepped the boundaries of the acceptable in his treatment of the racehorse.

Unlike the district court, the Court of Appeal agreed with the STC that the jockey had used excessive force when wielding the whip.

STC secretary general Ulf Hörnberg was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday’s appeals court decision.

The ruling is a further blow to the sport as it awaits a verdict in the case of trainer Åke Svanstedt, who stands accused of encouraging cruelty to animals.

Prosecutors claim the highly successful trainer urged stable staff to subject a number of horses to electric shocks.

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