Heartbroken Irish jockey denied ride at Epsom 'would not have been safety risk'
Heartbroken Irish jockey Gina Mangan should have been allowed to race at the Epsom Derby and would not pose a safety risk, according to the chief of the Irish Injured Jockeys group.
The Dunshaughlin apprentice was dramatically cut from the blue riband race as the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) cited her inexperience.
Ms Mangan (25) was due to ride 1000/1 apparent no-hoper Diore Lia in the historic flat race tomorrow for charity.
However, the BHA refused to accept Ms Mangan's declaration as the filly's jockey.
General Manager of Irish Injured Jockey's Michael Higgins said it was a shame that Ms Mangan could not enter the race and that she should have been allowed.
"I think she should have been allowed to ride, that's my opinion," Mr Higgins said.
"The vast majority of people were of the opinion that she didn't present a risk to the other jockeys or to herself and the ownership should have been allowed to decide who rides the horse, once she is qualified, which she is, so that'd be my view," he added.
The Co Meath jockey had been due to ride at Epsom to raise funds for the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London.
It is understood she was refused entry into the race in the interest of safety.
A decision which has left her inconsolable, according to the owner-breeder of Diore Lia, Richard Aylward.
Despite this, Mr Aylward has decided to run the horse with a different jockey, after initially threatening to pull out entirely.
"The horse is declared to run," he said.
"How could I stop the horse running when there have been donations coming from America? The charity is the number one. That's why I started this over a year ago. They are not stopping us running over this."
He said that Ms Mangan, a graduate of the renowned Race academy in Kildare Town, has not taken the decision well.
"Poor Gina has been crying up in the yard," he said.
"I am disgusted with the BHA for what it has done. It was okay for Victoria Pendleton to go round Cheltenham after riding a bike all her life. It's elitist.
"The horse is 52 rated. There have been loads of other low-rated horses.
"She is an improver. She is not going to come last. All I can hope for now is she runs a great race and does me proud," he added.
Diore Lia is one of 20 horses in contention tomorrow.