Victoria’s chief racing steward Terry Bailey has accused jockey Danny Nikolic of making threats against him during an exchange between the two at Seymour racecourse today.
Bailey banned Nikolic from riding indefinitely, provoking threats of a jockeys’ strike and raising the possibility of court action.
Nikolic denies the allegation, telling AAP he made “no threats whatsoever”.
“What I said was no threat,” Nikolic said. “I didn’t threaten him.”
Nikolic said the incident began as he rode to the barrier for race five at Seymour.
As he rode past Bailey, who was on duty at the race meeting, he said he told the steward to “keep your eyes on the road, Terry”.
Nikolic said the comment was a parody of a television advertisement.
After the race, the beleaguered jockey - who rode the winner of a race that is being investigated by Bailey and police as part of a race-fixing probe - said he was told by the chief steward an inquiry had been opened into his comments.
Through an associate, Nikolic said Bailey then asked him if the comments amounted to a threat.
Nikolic claims he told Bailey no threat was intended.
He reportedly told Bailey: “Why would you be threatened by that?”
Bailey later told Nikolic he’d been stood down from his last ride at the race meeting, prompting jockeys to threaten to strike.
Jockeys at the meeting reported Bailey had told them Nikolic had threatened him, his family and his career.
Racing Victoria (RV) issued a statement confirming Nikolic had been stood down for “allegedly making threatening comments to the chief steward”.
RV said an investigation was underway into the incident and it would be making no further comment until it concluded.
The riding ban has added confusion to the spring debut of star mare Mosheen who Nikolic is due to ride at Flemington on Saturday.
Should the ban remain in force, Nikolic will consider seeking a Supreme Court injunction to have it lifted.
Nikolic has been named in connection with a race run in April last year at Cranbourne that is now under investigation by police and stewards.