Wednesday 18 October 2017

Derby-winner Martin Dwyer to appeal two month ban

Martin Dwyer onboard Polygon
Martin Dwyer onboard Polygon

Nick Robson

Derby-winning jockey Martin Dwyer plans to appeal against the near two-month suspension handed to him by the Royal Western India Turf Club.

Dwyer has been banned from April 6 to May 31 following an inquiry into one of his rides at Mahalaxmi racecourse in Mumbai last month.

He finished a narrow third on market leader Ice Age in Division One of the Ice Magic Plate, prompting an angry response from racegoers.

A head-on video of the race showed Ice Age appearing to drift towards the rail in the closing stages, bumping the eventual runner-up and causing Dwyer to snatch up his mount.

The RWITC stewards called an inquiry and announced the horse was to be deemed a non-starter, with all bets refunded.

At the time, Dwyer suggested his mount was not moving correctly and suffered a nose bleed. He had expected to be cleared at the inquiry.

If Dwyer fails in his appeal, he will miss the ride on the William Muir-trained Purr Along in the 1000 Guineas, although he would be back in time for the Investec Derby.

"I'm still in a state of shock to be honest. I'm a bit numb," said Dwyer.

"I'm very disappointed with the decision and I'm still trying to get my head around it.

"I'm going to file an appeal against the decision that was made today and I will go through every possible course of action to lift the ban before I come home.

"The suspension starts on April 6 and I can ride until the appeal is heard, which could take anything up to 15 days.

"The vets report confirmed that the horse broke a blood vessel and I dismounted as soon as we passed the post. I even had blood on me in the inquiry on the day.

"This was all confirmed today, but they decided that I didn't let the horse run on its merits.

"I can't say any more at this stage as it could hurt my appeal but before I even think about the BHA maybe reciprocating it, I'm going to try to do everything I can over here."

Champion jockey Richard Hughes was banned for 50 days by the Indian stewards last year, a suspension which was upheld by the British Horseracing Authority.

A statement from BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey read: "When a suspension is imposed on a rider by an international authority, the home jurisdiction would first await to be requested by the relevant Racing Authority regarding any suspensions, and subsequently how they would expect the suspension to be reciprocated in our jurisdiction.

"However, any jockey has the right to ask their home authority not to reciprocate any suspension. Should this occur, then any application would be given due consideration.

"Normally, for such an application to be successful, the rider would need to provide grounds as to why we should not enforce the ban which under normal circumstances would be reciprocated, for example if they can prove that the disciplinary process did not comply with the laws of natural justice."

Mounsey later added: "Richard Hughes also had to exhaust the appeal system in India before he asked us not to reciprocate.

"It would be hard to say Martin has no chance of winning his appeal because we would only be basing it on the precedent of Hughes' case.

"After the appeal, he would have 48 hours to then appeal to us not to reciprocate the ban and we could then delay the start of his ban while we consider the appeal."

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, says the organisation will back Dwyer in his appeal.

He said: "Martin is bitterly disappointed about the outcome of today's hearing and will be lodging an appeal against the decision as a matter of urgency.

"He is entirely innocent of the charges levelled against him - one only needs to view the head-on replay of the race to know that - and will fight to clear his name.

"He will have the full support of the PJA and in the event his appeal fails, our strong advice would be to make an application to ask the BHA not to reciprocate what in our view is an entirely unjust and perverse decision."

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