Walsh to miss Down Royal showpiece as appeal rejected
Ruby Walsh will not be able to ride in tomorrow's JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal after he failed in his appeal against the five-day whip ban that he incurred when recording a narrow win on Edgardo Sol at Aintree a fortnight ago.
The former champion jockey's bid to have the sanction overturned was heard at British Horseracing Authority headquarters in London.
Having been found guilty of striking Edgardo Sol nine times, once more than is permitted, Walsh argued that one of the strokes administered down the shoulder on the approach to the final fence should not have counted, on the basis that it was for corrective and safety purposes.
"They accepted it was for corrective but not for safety," Walsh said afterwards of the appeal panel's decision, "so they overturned the appeal. I've never appealed a ban before so I am disappointed."
With an automatic 10-day ban looming if he transgresses again, he added: "It's a fair cloud hanging over you. I spoke to Paul (Nicholls) briefly, we'll have a chat over the weekend and see what we do, but I want to be riding at the big meetings. You're dealing with a fine line; it's like a yellow card, it's a balancing act."
As well as missing out on The Nightingale in the big race tomorrow, Walsh will also have to watch Kauto Stone, a half-brother to Kauto Star, make its debut for Nicholls in the Ladbrokes.com Chase.
Nicholls confirmed yesterday that Noel Fehily, who stood in for Walsh with such aplomb on a number of occasions after he broke his leg at the northern fixture a year ago, will take the ride on both horses.