President of the Australian Trainers’ Association, Robbie Griffiths, has come out in support of John Sadler following that trainer’s misconduct suspension.

Sadler was suspended for six weeks on Monday arising from comments and gestures he is alleged to have made towards stewards at Sandown on November 18 when his horse Observational was withdrawn from the Eclipse Stakes.

Sadler pleaded guilty and his charge was heard by Racing and Disciplinary Board chairman Judge Bowman on Monday.

Speaking on Melbourne Radio RSN927 on Tuesday, Griffiths said his initial reaction was that the six-week penalty is harsh.

“It appears that way to me but I’m only looking at it through my set of eyes and don’t know the full set of circumstances having not sat in on the inquiry,” Griffiths said.

“To have a trainer suspended for the charges – six weeks seems a bit harsh.

“I was shocked and disappointed that it has come to this when John has been so well respected by all of us for so many years so this is really disappointing”

Griffiths said he had been in discussion ATA chief executive Andrew Nicholl but has not spoken to Sadler yet.

“I think John just needs to have some time to himself,” Griffiths said.

“I would have thought with the guilty plea and with the way he apologised and made that known he would not have been treated so harshly.“

Sadler has been given one week to arrange his affairs before the suspension commences and is considering lodging an appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.