McCoy battered and bruised but ready for Gold Cup duel
Published 19/03/2010 | 05:00
Another blank Thursday session for the visiting contingent kept the bookmakers happy and left punters miserable as Irish riders Davy Condon and Robert Power incurred the wrath of the stewards.
The previous afternoon, Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry were harshly banned for whip offences after one of the best races of the meeting with the latter now obliged to sit out the Aintree Grand National.
Missing the earlier Fairyhouse version is the punishment Cork-born Condon faces after he was deemed to have been the culprit in a barging match with Ruby Walsh during the closing stages of the Ryanair Chase.
Rounding the final bend, Condon on the rapidly improving J'y Vole found himself sandwiched between Walsh on the favourite Poquelin and a fading Deep Purple, with Albertas Run already booked for the winner's enclosure when benefiting from a trademark Tony McCoy forceful ride.
From the stands it seemed as though the champion jockey, determined not to yield an inch of ground, was in the process of compromising both their prospects of mounting any challenge to Albertas Run.
However, after the inevitable inquiry, it was third-placed J'y Vole's partner that ended up in the dock, with the officials finding Condon guilty of interfering with Poquelin and in breach of the rules governing careless riding "in that he pushed through a gap which never looked like being big enough".
Condon's highly debatable four-day ban encompasses a blank Holy Thursday and his local Cork meeting on Easter Saturday as well as the Easter Sunday and Monday meetings at Fairyhouse.
"It was an awful pity what happened on the home turn because at that stage she seemed to be travelling the best. She jumped super and was bang in the mix going for home. I don't think we'd have beaten McCoy but we should have been second," remarked Ger O'Brien of the Hammer & Trowel Syndicate, successful with J'y Vole's stable companion Quevega on Tuesday.
In contrast there was little or no bother during the preceding Pertemps Final in which David Pipe's Buena Vista led throughout to relegate Robert Power to second place aboard fellow 16/1 chance Prince Erik.
Well aware of the danger of allowing Cheltenham regular Buena Vista too much leeway, Power had Dermot Weld's winner of the Leopardstown qualifier in pole position to strike if good enough from two out.