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Nikolic Returns To Aust After Mauritius Stewards Clash

Thursday, 2nd July 2009

Former leading Sydney jockey Danny Nikolic "will return home this weekend to ponder his future in racing, after an explosive blow-up with officials & claims of dirty riding tactics in Mauritius," reported The Daily Telegraph. Nikolic, 34, said he was "undecided whether to continue to base himself out of Sydney or relocate to Melbourne" where the lucrative spring carnival is just around the corner. He confirmed: "I'm going to have a break for a week or two & mull over a few things. I'll assess whether I have a crack at the Sydney spring carnival & then go to Melbourne or just go to Melbourne & base myself there. Wherever I go, I just don't want to make up the numbers." The Guy Fok stable in Mauritius dramatically terminated Nikolic's riding contract on Tuesday, after receiving a report of a confrontation with Mauritius Turf Club stewards. Fok stable trainer Budheswar Gujadhur announced on the MTC website: "We have been called by the racing stewards after an incident in the stewards' room during which Danny Nikolic showed disrespect towards the racing stewards. Following this meeting, we have decided to terminate Danny Nikolic's contract. There are things that we can't accept." However Nikolic told the newspaper he "denied any wrongdoing" & explained he had been called to an inquiry "following a complaint by French jockey Gaeton Faucon after a race last weekend". It was the 2nd time in a fortnight Nikolic & Faucon "had been embroiled in a stewards' inquiry, after Faucon had levelled a complaint about the Australian's riding tactics". Chief steward Ian Patterson told The Daily Telegraph he decided to call in both Nikolic & Gaucon for "an informal chat" in a "bid to calm the growing unrest between the two" & "during that meeting there was an incident between jockey Nikolic & one of the stewards (a doctor who doubles as a part-time steward). It became a little bit personal. It went for about a minute & a half. They had their points of view & they agreed to disagree & it became a little bit heated at one stage." Nikolic noted "one particular stable" registered several complaints against him & declared: "You know what I'm like in the stewards' room if I think people don't know what they're talking about. I told the doctor he didn't know what he was looking at & he took offence to it. He walked out of an earlier inquiry & just dismissed me & I said to him in this latest inquiry: Are you going to walk out again? He got really offended. I didn't back down, it got a bit heated & because I wouldn't apologise the stable said they had no option but to terminate my contract. What do you do? I'm not going to be dictated to by anyone who doesn't know what they're looking at."

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