'Shocked' Barry Geraghty set to miss Punchestown after 30-day riding ban
Barry Geraghty was left shocked after being handed a 30-day ban by the Limerick stewards for his ride on Noble Emperor in the Book Online At www.limerickraces.ie Handicap Hurdle, ruling him out of the Punchestown Festival.
All the jockeys bar Barry Cash, who rode the winner Velocity Boy, were invited in by the officials to explain why they allowed the eventual victor so much of a lead, one which proved unassailable.
Geraghty on the Tony Martin-trained runner finished strongly in second, but was still beaten 11 lengths. Despite the JP McManus-owned Noble Emperor - who was sent off the 7-4 favourite - losing a shoe he was found to be post-race normal.
Acting under Rule 212, which governs running and riding, the stewards were of the opinion Geraghty had failed to take all reasonable and permissible measires to obtain the best possible placing, banning him for 30 days, with the horse prevented from running for 60 days and Martin fined 3,000 euros.
The report from the stewards said Martin had stated his instructions were "to get some cover and try switch him off, bearing in mind that the horse can be keen". He added that the horse "has disappointed in the past but should have enjoyed today's heavy conditions over two miles, despite having form over further". He expressed satisfaction with the ride and that the lost shoe had no bearing on the run on today's ground.
It added Geraghty had confirmed the instructions adding that the horse "needs to be covered up and delivered late" and that the winner "quickly established a good lead at the start and circumstance meant that he was unable to chase the leader until the straight as he was riding strictly to instructions".
He confirmed the horse felt healthy at all stages, the report said.
Geraghty's ban is due to begin on April 17, taking in the conclusion of the British jumps season at Sandown and the five-day Punchestown fixture.
Beyond expressing his shock, Geraghty, who could be expected to have a host of big rides at Punchestown in his first season as retained rider to McManus, declined to comment afterwards when asked for his reaction. He was also ordered to forfeit his riding fee.
None of the other riders interviewed were punished, although Robbie Colgan had left the track to ride in a point-to-point.