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Russell and Enright get early present

Davy Russell (pictured) and Philip Enright are free to ride at the big Christmas festivals after the five-day bans they received for the 'whip borrowing' incident at Clonmel on December 7 were reduced to two days on appeal.

Dual champion jockey Russell was riding the Charles Byrnes-trained 8-13 favourite Leave At Dawn in the Powerstown Handicap Hurdle, while Enright was aboard 33-1 shot Backinyourbox.

Russell dropped his whip after his mount made a bad mistake at the first obstacle and television coverage showed him appearing to take Enright's stick before the runners jumped the second flight.

Both horses finished well down the field, with Leave At Dawn a disappointing eighth and Backinyourbox 12th. The stewards on the day found Russell and Enright in breach of Rule 272, which is related to bringing racing into disrepute, and were handed five-day suspensions.

However, following yesterday's hearing they will now sit out just the action on December 20 and 21.

Turf Club press officer Cliff Noone said: "The panel agreed with the Clonmel stewards that both riders were guilty of breaking Rule 272, in that their actions were prejudicial to the proper conduct of racing. However, both have clean records and the panel has decided their bans should be reduced from five to two days."