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22/07/02 Star Darwin Jockey Sensationally Banned
The Northern Territory racing scene is in shock after Darwin's leading apprentice rider was banned from riding for three months after attempting to "cheat" when weighing out on Saturday.

Joel Hallam, who is leading the overall premiership at Fannie Bay, was expected to be one of the leading hoops in the Darwin Cup Carnival which hots up on Saturday when the NT Derby is run.

Hallam, a 17-year-old, was set to ride the expected favourite Grey Desert, a last start Guineas winner, in the Derby on Saturday.

Stewards outed the talented hoop for an "improper action" while weighing out for the second race of the day on Saturday afternoon.

Authorities noticed that Hallam was manipulating the scales in an improper fashion so he could make the weight on his mount for the race, A Ess Eye. This came after he had already been fined $100 after failing to use his full claim for the same mount.

Stewards had then allowed the jockey to ride the horse after being fined as there was no suitable replacement as the horse's trainer requested Hallam ride the galloper.

"Hallam was charged under AR 175 (a) with an improper action," the steward's report noted.

"The improper action being that when he attempted to weigh out to ride A Ess Eye that he placed his leg against the scales thereby affecting the reading of the scales."

It is unsure whether Hallam will appeal with ban.

Stewards also fined a licenced track rider $200 for riding track work with "a body protector which did not conform to the standards as prescribed and which had been modified (AR87b, AR87d)."

Meanwhile, the Darwin Cup Carnival really hots up on Saturday when the MGM Grand Darwin NT Derby (2000m) is run.

The $71,000 race has attracted 13 nominations including the recent Guineas winner Grey Desert, the Tasmanian Derby winner Moonah Brooke, the Tulloch Stakes placegetter My Tally and the recent winners Copper's Edge and Bellotto Boy.

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