Three jockeys given ten-day bans at Perth after void race

Mon 11 Sep 2017

Watch stipendiary steward Adrian Sharpe explain to Gordon Brown why three riders were punished at Perth on Monday plus an interview with course chief executive Hazel Peplinski

By Andy Stephens

Grand National-winning jockey Derek Fox was among three jockeys given ten-day bans at Perth on Monday for failing to pull up during a voided three-mile novice handicap chase.

The second race on the card, the three-mile handicap chase, was declared void on the final circuit as a stricken horse, Johnny Go, was being attended to behind screens near the finishing line.

Johnny Go had fallen at the first fence and ran loose. He came down on the run-in and was being treated while the contest was being run. Sadly, the Lisa Harrison-trained seven-year-old, who was running at the Scottish venue for the 18th time and seeking a fourth win there, had to be put down.

Flags were waved at the third last and after the final obstacle, but Fox, Sean Quinlan and Stephen Mulqueen rode on.

Red Giant, the favourite, partnered by Quinlan, was first past the post, with Miss Joeking, the mount of Fox, second. Here Comes Love jinked and unseated 3lb claimer Mulqueen on the run-in.

The race was instantly declared void and a stewards' inquiry, which lasted much of the afternoon, was announced.

Stipendiary steward Adrian Sharpe emerged to tell Racing UK: "The inquiry was whether the jockeys had seen the flag and, secondly, whether they had ignored it. We decided that the jockeys were in breach of ignoring the stop-race procedures, particularly the flag on the run-in, so they were each suspended for ten days.

"[The yellow stop-raceflag] is well known to all the jockeys. There are only two types of flags deployed - a chequered flag and a yellow flag, and we felt it was clear to the jockeys the yelow stop-race flag had been waved and that they had chosen to ride past."

Clerk of the course Harriet Graham took the difficult decision to void the race, saying: "I stopped the race for the safety of the personnel by the screens."

Graham had the full support of Hazel Peplinski, the chief executive at the track, who said her staff had been excellent in dificult circumstances.

Peplinski told Racing UK: "I fully support my staff's decision, it was absolutely the correct thing to do in the circumstances because safety is absolutely paramount for horses and rider, and the staff we are dealing with - the bereaved of Lisa Harrison's horse which is so unfortunate to have had to be put down through it's injury. That's what we should remember here."

When asked if it was the right decision, Quinlan had earlier told the Racing Post: "No, I don't think it was because we had loads of room to go where we went.

"There was nothing in front of the third-last, there was nothing in front of the second-last and there was nothing in front of the last, and we had plenty of room to go through to the finish line."

A statement issued by the BHA read: "The decision to deploy the stop-race flag and where to deploy the flag operator is made by the clerk of the course.

“The rules of racing are clear that once the stop-race flag is deployed the jockeys must stop riding and the race is void. The stop-race flag is used for safety reasons and jockeys are aware that they must stop riding immediately once they have seen the flag being waved, and that the stewards have no choice but to declare the race void.

“If any riders continue racing after they have seen the flag the stewards will then hold an inquiry to determine whether any rules have been breached, and will consider evidence from the jockeys and clerk of the course in these inquiries.”

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