Jockey’s ban halved for sister fight – but no May carnival

JOCKEY Nikita McLean yesterday lost her bid to ride in next week’s May Racing Carnival, but vowed to mend the bitter family feud with her sister that brought her before the stewards in the first place.
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McLean, 27, appealed against a five-month ban imposed a week ago following an ugly brawl with jockey sibling Jackie Beriman at Hamilton races on April 14.

Yesterday, the appeals board halved her sentence to two-and-a-half months, which still prevents her from riding in next week’s carnival.

The board heard the sisters came to blows after McLean’s husband, top Warrnambool-based jumps jockey Brad McLean, and Beriman, 18, had an affair. The story of the warring sisters of the racetrack soon captured the attention of national media.

On April 18, McLean angrily told stewards that Beriman had wrecked her marriage and was now trying to destroy her career. But yesterday she appeared to have changed her tune.

She told the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board that she now wanted to end the battle with Beriman.

“I’m committed to trying to restore my relationship with Jackie and will work hard to achieve that,’’ McLean said.

Board chairman Russell Lewis said there had to be some degree of understanding shown to McLean, given the domestic circumstances that led to her attacking Beriman. The board was told that Brad McLean’s infidelity with Nikita McLean’s younger sister had driven her to the limits of her capacity and she had felt betrayed.

Patrick Wheelahan, for McLean, said the five-month penalty would have cost the jockey up to $70,000 in earnings and was too severe.

She will now be off the track until June 30.

McLean said she was relieved and glad the ordeal was behind her and said she wanted to now ensure that “the conduct of all riders in the female jockeys room was professional and up to the workplace standards that apply in 2013’’.

Beriman declined an offer to speak to The Standard.

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