Apprentice Stephanie Lacy has had a one-month suspension on a handling charge quashed in another case highlighting delays in appeals in Queensland.
She has been riding on a stay since last August. New Zealand-born Lacy was outed after riding Kulaba in a race at the Sunshine Coast on July 23 last year.
Stewards alleged she failed to pressure her mount from the 400 to the 300-metre point and then from the 200 again failed to pressure Kulaba or show enough vigour to ensure he gained the best possible place.
Lacy argued she felt there was something wrong with the horse and had not wanted to injure him further. Stewards took a different view, however, finding her guilty and suspending her for four weeks.
Lacy took her case to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal seeking the conviction and sentence be overturned. QCAT heard evidence from Lacy, her masters John Symons and Sheila Laxon, and steward James Williamson.
Symons and Laxon gave evidence Kulaba had a serious eye injury which could have been sustained only in the race. Their evidence was backed up by a report from a vet.
In a written judgment, QCAT Member David Paratz said he found Lacy a believable and straightforward witness and had also been impressed by evidence from Laxon.
"The next day the horse was found to have a serious eye injury," he said. "If the eye injury was caused during the race, the behaviour of the horse as described by Ms Lacy, and the course of the development of its eye injury is entirely consistent with expert opinion (of a vet)."
"I find it most likely the horse was struck on the right eye by a flying clod at some time in the last 600 metres."
Paratz said Lacy had acted in a humane and appropriate manner and set aside the stewards' decision.