Abuse, threats leave Cup jockey reeling
STAR jockey Michael Walker has shutdown social media after copping a barrage of abuse and online threats for breaching the whip rules during the Melbourne Cup.
Walker copped a $10,000 fine and seven-meeting suspension that will begin on Thursday night for striking British stayer Prince Of Arran 12 times before the final 100m - seven more than the allowed limit.
Kiwi Walker said on Wednesday he had been forced to shut down his social media - including his personal Facebook account - because of the abuse.
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His heavily-pregnant partner Lauren has also been subjected to threats after he plead guilty to the excessive whip charge in the Melbourne Cup.
Walker, 35, did not shy away from his wrong doing on Tuesday, admitting his error.
But Walker - who said he had had no sleep amid the drama - said the backlash he had received in the wake of the offence had left him considering a break from social media.
"If it wasn't for my love of the horses and people in racing - they're the people that make it worth it … I'll spend a couple of nice days with the kids on Friday and Saturday," Walker told the Herald Sun.
"And then they go back to New Zealand on Sunday.
"I don't know what I'll do. I might need a bit of time out.
"Some lady told me to 'watch my back'.
"I'm heartbroken already (by falling short in the race) and now this. It's killed me."
He said his brother had taken Thursday off work to attend Oaks Day with him "just in case", but was adamant that he held no fear for his safety.
Walker's children Kase and Layla flew to Melbourne from New Zealand for the Melbourne Cup, with Layla celebrating her 11th birthday at Flemington.
Walker - who maintains that the whip does not hurt the horse and is used to create a noise effect to spark it into action - had said post-race that he felt he had let his daughter down after promising her on Tuesday morning that he would win the Melbourne Cup for her.
But it was comments on a post wishing her a happy birthday that proved the final straw to deactivate his Facebook account.
"I put a post up with my daughter, wishing her a happy birthday and that I love you," he said.
"And then this guy said, 'how would you like your daughter to be whipped, your wife whipped and abuse your daughter and your wife like you have on a horse'.
"The guy put a link about how I'm a horrible person and I shouldn't be alive on this post where I'd put happy birthday.
"I deleted it before she could see it, but still.
"I'll be honest with you - I'm flat as a tack.
"They're happy to do it and then you look at it, and then they block you and you can't reply or see anything about them.
"Anyone who is expected to do something well in their chosen sport and they fail, straight away people jump down their throat. Some of it makes you not want to be a sportsman."
Walker's partner Lauren is due to give birth within a fortnight and he said she had received messages and comments to her social media accounts.
"That's the last thing she needs right now," he said.
"I'm just going to be careful because I've been through depression before. I can't let this affect me - especially with a baby on the way."
Walker is riding at Kyneton today which he said was to send a message that he would not let "keyboard warriors" derail his career.
"I'm doing it because I don't want to let them beat me, you know?" he said.
"But I'm not going to lie - it has affected me in a big way."