JOCKEY Danny Nikolic’s hopes of returning to the saddle are doomed.
He now is in the same category as convicted drug lord Tony Mokbel — banned from entering any Victorian racecourse — following a decision by new chief police commissioner Graham Ashton.
The ban was imposed last week when Mr Ashton wrote to Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey on September 8 to inform him Victoria Police had taken the action.
Nikolic, 40, is nearing the end of a two year disqualification for allegedly threatening Bailey and his family, and another steward during a recess at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
He currently is living in Queensland and has sought a licence there, as well as in Victoria.
However the latest ban, which adds to an exclusion order from Crown Casino imposed three years ago by former chief commissioner Ken Lay, ends his chances of regaining a licence in Victoria and will almost certainly preclude him from gaining one in any state or territory — or overseas.
Now officially “an undesirable” in racing and gambling circles, Nikolic will have an uphill battle to convince any jurisdiction that he should be allow to ride again.
Bailey said the Nikolic case “is a bit close to home for me” and insisted the racecourse ban was the initiative of Victoria Police and that any re-licencing bid in Queensland was up their chief steward Allan Reardon.
“(The police ban) is no different to someone who is disqualified or warned off under our rules of racing. It is policed the same way — if they come on to a track they will be asked to leave.”
Nikolic last appeared publicly at a racecourse, at Flemington on June 10, when he ventured into the mounting yard as a guest of owners for race six — his father John and mother Karen, as well as his partner Tania Hyett who are in the ownership of Salute to Jude.
However he then ventured into the jockeys’ room and was asked to leave by acting chief steward Robert Cram, given suspended jockeys are not permitted in the private area, and queried how Nikolic had access to the mounting yard.
Nikolic left without incident.
On the same day, Racing Victoria stewards charged Ms Hyett for placing lay bets on horses trained by Aquanita trainer Robert Smerdon while being a registered employee with the stable.
She escaped without penalty on August 11 when the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board found charges unproven.
She escaped on a technicality as she was employed as an administrator, not a stablehand, and was employed by Aquanita and not Smerdon.
Her solicitor argued successfully that she had no case to answer given the definitions of the local rules of racing, and the RAD Board agreed before suggesting that stewards consider an amendment to the rules to cover “the vacuum situation” which arose in the case.