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Wednesday 29 March 2017

Protester storms course as McCoy nears winning post

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A PROTESTER narrowly avoided being trampled by horses after dashing out on to the course as Irish jockey Tony McCoy galloped towards the winning post.

The Liverpool man -- dressed in a leprechaun-style green hat and orange top -- was carrying a banner with references to Ryanair as he ran on to the track, around 100 yards from the finish of the airline-sponsored race.

TV footage showed he appeared to be perilously close to the horses nearing the winning post of the 2.40pm meeting on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The Glouchestershire Constabulary confirmed that the man climbed out through the running rails around five minutes into the race.

He was swiftly removed from the course and arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

The police spokeswoman later said the protester had been ordered to pay an £80 (€92) fine, was removed from the racecourse, and sent home.

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed an inquiry would be held and the man could face a life ban from all racecourses in the country.

The last time someone got out on to the course was 20 years ago. No one was hurt in yesterday's incident.

The protester appeared to be carrying a banner with the message 'Ryanair Don't Care'.

Ryanair chief and horse owner Michael O'Leary, who was enjoying a day out at the races after two wins earlier in the week, said he had not seen the incident and "wouldn't pay any attention to it".

"There was a great winner of the Ryanair Chase in Albertas Run and it's a shame if someone was trying to create cheap publicity for themselves," Mr O'Leary said.

"He has to be a bit of an idiot to run out in front of AP (Tony McCoy) on Albertas Run."

Irish Independent

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