An Airbnb holiday house where top jockey Jamie Kah and three other riders held a lockdown-breaching party was ‘totally trashed’, a cleaner has claimed.
The cleaner found what she believed to be blood stains and wine marks smeared on the floors and even the couch at the lavish short-stay rental in Mornington, south of Melbourne, when she arrived on Friday afternoon.
Several other workers and steam cleaners were required to scrub the three-level property, which sold for $1,225,000 last year.
‘The place was totally trashed, an absolute mess,’ the cleaner told the Herald Sun.
‘There was blood everywhere, on the couch. The red wine looked like it had been walked through the house.’
A neighbour, who wished not be named, told the Herald Sun she knew the owners of the house, saying they were ‘extremely apologetic and angry about what happened’.
She also heard the police bang on the door of the rental home just after midnight, saying: ‘It got really noisy. You could literally hear everything.’
Top rider Kah, fellow jockeys Ethan Brown and Ben Melham, and apprentice Celine Gaudray were fined for staying at the rental with two other people on Wednesday night.
Police were called to the Tallis Drive property due to a noise complaint just before midnight, reportedly after a tip-off from an estranged partner of one of the jockeys.
‘Upon arrival officers located six people inside, all allegedly outside their 5km radius and in breach of curfew,’ Victoria Police said in a statement.
All six were fined $5,452 each for breaching the directions of the chief health officer.
The four riders also pleaded guilty to charges laid by racing stewards, of ‘failure or refusal to comply with an order, direction, or requirement of the stewards or an official’.
Stewards suspended the racing licences of all four jockeys for three months, meaning none of them can ride in the 2021 Spring Racing carnival.
Kah has apologised for her behaviour.
‘I am deeply embarrassed and disappointed with myself,’ she said in a statement on Twitter.
‘There is no excuse for what I have done and I have let myself down, my family and friends, the racing industry and all Victorians who are doing the right thing in this lockdown.
‘I deserve the penalty handed down by the stewards and will take the time to reflect on my actions and its impact on so many people.’
A two-day racing tribunal inquiry into the incident concluded on Friday.
The suspension expires at midnight on November 25.
The stewards said they took into account the riders’ guilty pleas and expressions of remorse, but the penalties had to be sufficient to deter others from COVID breaches.
Any appeal must be lodged within three days.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ with the jockeys.
‘We are always disappointed when people do not follow the rules and we understand Racing Victoria are taking immediate measures and .. will send a strong message,’ he told reporters on Friday.
Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson condemned the riders’ actions.
‘These individuals could have put at risk the very continuance of our sport and also blatantly disregarded the broader community implications through their selfish and thoughtless actions,’ he said in a statement on Thursday.
He also warned of the ‘critical need’ for the industry to follow COVID-19 directives ahead of the Spring Racing carnival.
The racing industry has been allowed to keep operating under COVID restrictions and Racing Victoria says more than 750 race meetings have been held safely since the pandemic began.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup carnival was held without spectators at the usually packed Flemington Racecourse.Internet Explorer Channel Network