McCoy among nine banned at Wetherby
In a week when jockeys have been under intense scrutiny for their use of the whip, there was further bad publicity for their profession yesterday when nine riders, including 16-times champion Tony McCoy, were given 10-day suspensions at Wetherby.
During the first circuit of the 12-runner, two-mile Betfair Supports Spinal Research Handicap Hurdle, Ashburton Lad unfortunately broke a leg and was pulled up by Campbell Gillies after the first flight in the home straight.
When the field approached the home straight on their second circuit, confusion reigned. A course official could be seen on the track waving a yellow flag, which denotes the race should be stopped and all riders must pull up their mounts.
However, nine jockeys carried on, jumped the first flight in the home straight and passed the medical team attending Ashburton Lad behind screens, before continuing with the race. Cunning Clarets, ridden by Brian Hughes, was first past the post ahead of Kings Counsel and Red Skipper.
Punters and bookmakers, both on track and around the country, were left in the dark as to what was happening after it took the Wetherby stewards 35 minutes to declare the race void. The offending riders -- Hughes, McCoy, Graham Lee, Danny Cook, Denis O'Regan, Alex Voy, Jonathon Bewley, Paddy Brennan and Brian Toomey -- will be sidelined between October 26 and November 4.
The major events they will miss are the Charlie Hall Chase meeting back at Wetherby and the Tote Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
Dougie Costello's mount Favours Brave pulled up and the Tom Messenger-ridden Glorybe refused to race. Costello, Messenger and Gillies therefore escaped punishment.
At Lingfield Park, Natalia Gemelova and Pat Cosgrave both fell foul of the new whip rules and received bans for overuse after finishing second in their respective races. Gemelova was suspended for seven days and Cosgrave for five.
Four jockeys have now been banned since the new rules were introduced on Monday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)