A jockey who caused outrage after punching his horse in the stomach before a race has apologised for his "unjustifiable" actions. Dylan Caboche was suspended for two weeks by Thoroughbred Racing South Australia after he was seen hitting She's Reneldasgirl ahead of a race in Port Lincoln.
There were calls for the 22-year-old to be handed a more severe punishment. The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) called Caboche's two-week suspension "grossly inadequate".
CPR spokesperson Ward Young told Seven Sport: "You don't get to punch a horse and get away with it.
"If jockeys can't control their tempers, they don't deserve to be on the racetrack. If this is what we see on race day, we can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes."
In a statement, the 22-year-old rider has now apologised for punching the horse. He said: "I want to genuinely, sincerely and unreservedly apologise to everyone for my actions.
"I understand what I did was completely unacceptable. My apology goes to the horse's connections, my fellow jockeys here in SA [South Australia] and nationally, Thoroughbred Racing SA, the racing public and to the wider community in general.
"Any explanation dealing with why it happened can't possibly condone what I did. I'm just so disappointed in myself. Obviously, I understand and accept that no matter how difficult my mount was, it can't justify what I did."
Caboche's master, trainer Ryan Balfour, said the incident was out of character for the rider.
He told Racing.com: "I have seen the incident and was shocked. Dylan has had 1500 race rides and would have ridden many thousands of track gallops for me.
"All I have ever seen from Dylan is that he has complete respect and a genuine affection for the horses he works with.
"This moment of madness and frustration is totally unacceptable but completely out of character with everything I have seen through the time I've employed him."
Caboche will serve his suspension from 17 November 17 to 1 December.