Gowran stewards' call reveals a new hardline stance
The banning of Andrew Lynch and Barry John Foley on Saturday at Gowran was at the very least debatable.
Third-placed Theturnofthesun, ridden by Lynch and trained by Matthew Smith, came home a half-length behind runner-up Cloudy Morning, ridden by Foley for Declan Queally, in the maiden chase won by the only other finisher, odds-on General Principle.
Each rider got a five-day ban, each trainer a €2,000 fine and both horses 42-day suspensions. Though they were considerately ridden, they were well-beaten at the top of the straight and basically ran to something like their form entitled them to.
There is a clear slur attached to all of this for the two jockeys, who did not expect to win the race and rode their mounts accordingly. If they are to be punished for that, every rider that tries to ride a race to finish second behind Douvan and Altior this week should be brought in too.
Lest this be interpreted as a snipe at the stewards who are clearly making a major effort as part of the revised non-trier rules introduced this year, the palpable sea change is to be lauded. However, connections of both have already expressed reservations about appealing, which they clearly should as they have legitimate cases and deserve to defend their name.
Meanwhile, it should be noted that Adrian Maguire is not set to retire from training, as he outlined to this paper on Saturday. He simply is looking for more owners. His televised plea at Thurles races is something almost all his peers can relate to.
RIDE OF THE WEEK
Pat Smullen all but lifted Hailstone (11/8) home for Patrick Prendergast in Dundalk's opener on Friday night.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I absolutely love Michael O'Leary as I am a big fan of both competitive racing and mini European breaks."
- Cheltenham preview panel regular Brendan Duke, son of the trainer of that name, praises the Ryanair boss in Walkinstown on Thursday.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
"558 horses have competed in the #Cheltenham Bumper since 1992. Only 2 have gone on to win Championship Races at the Festival."
- Vincent Finnegan (@weakintheknees) with an incredible stat.
GAMBLE OF THE WEEK
The reserve, Seaforth, was at least 12/1 earlier but punted into 2/1 at Dundalk for Johnny Feane. For the third time in a row, he was well-backed and well-beaten.