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Slevin's special day ends on sour note

 

Jockey JJ Slevin after winning the BoyleSports Irish Grand National Steeplechase with General Principle on Day 2 of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Jockey JJ Slevin after winning the BoyleSports Irish Grand National Steeplechase with General Principle on Day 2 of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

It was another historic day in Gordon Elliott's training career as General Principle (20/1) secured his first Irish Grand National in dramatic style, but it ended on a sour note for winning rider JJ Slevin.

The Wexford jockey was hit with a seven-day ban as the Fairyhouse stewards found him to have used his whip with excessive force in a driving photo-finish.

David Mullins - rider of runner-up Isleofhopendreams - was also suspended for three days for a similar offence in spite of just eight of the 30 runners completing the stamina-sapping 3m5f course in atrocious conditions.

General Principle helped Elliott stretch his lead over reigning champion Willie Mullins to approximately €500,000 in their duel for the Irish trainers' championship, but winning connections were quick to pour cold water on the title being wrapped up with Gigginstown House Stud racing manager Eddie O'Leary remarking that "it's far from over as we saw last year".

Mullins will hope to strike back again today, providing Fairyhouse passes an 8am inspection.

Irish Independent

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