Dominic Elsworth draws line under weighing-room fracas with Timmy Murphy
An inquiry into the weighing-room dust-up at Newbury on Friday that resulted in jockey Timmy Murphy dislocating his shoulder will be held at Wincanton on Thursday.
Murphy, who was heard arguing with fellow jockey Dominic Elsworth after an incident in the Bet365 Handicap Chase before their spat continued in the changing-room, said yesterday that he won't know how long the injury will keep him out for until he sees a specialist tomorrow.
The inquiry was opened yesterday but after hearing from Elsworth, jockeys' valet Chris Maude and Professional Jockeys' Association chief executive Paul Struthers, the Newbury stewards adjourned it, stating they could not proceed without hearing from Murphy (39), who will be expected to attend the Wincanton inquiry on Thursday.
After the inquiry, Elsworth said: "Timmy rang last night and apologised. As far as I am concerned it is history now."
The injury completes an awful year for Murphy. On the same day last year, the Kildare native fractured a vertebra at Newbury and at Ayr in April he broke a hand that had to be pinned and plated and kept him out of action until October.
Stewards at Newbury on Friday did not hold an inquiry partly because no complaint had been made by either jockey and Murphy was on his way to hospital to have his shoulder seen to.
Changing-room fights are commonplace across all sports, even Flat racing, but they are rare in jump racing, in which there tends to be a greater camaraderie because of the common danger they share on the racecourse.
When it does happen it usually comes down to what one jockey regards as dangerous riding by a colleague, which may not be immediately evident on a TV screen. In a race, a jockey has his space and his line that he protects and, if a boundary is crossed, it may result in words.
"There are enough dangers out on the track without fighting off it," said one senior jockey who took a dim view of the altercation. "Occasionally it spills over on to the course."
Kieren Fallon famously pulled Stuart Webster off a horse at Beverley.
It then continued in the weighing-room when Webster had his nose broken and Fallon was banned for six months. In a more recent example, Christian Williams was given a six-day ban for hitting Tom Scudamore at Hereford, while it is not always restricted to male jockeys.
Sophie Doyle was banned for seven days at Southwell after striking out at her fellow female rider Kirsty Milczarek.
In the old days, rivalries and old scores were often settled out in the country by one rider putting another rider through the wing or over the rails, but that practice fizzled out as television cameras came in.