McLaughlin hit with 28-day ban after Vaultage is pipped
VETERan jockey Tom McLaughlin was handed a 28-day ban after he was at the centre of controversy at Catterick on Saturday for failing to ride out on odds-on favourite Vaultage.
The 8/15 chance appeared to have the Median Auction Maiden Fillies' Stakes in the bag, despite drifting into the middle of the track at the final furlong. Inside the final furlong the Ed Dunlop-trained three-year-old was clear, but McLaughlin failed to reach for the whip -- bar one strike down the neck -- and was beaten a head on the line by Royal Cheer.
McLaughlin said: "I was just trying to hold her together. That's all I was doing." But senior stipendiary steward Adie Smith said: "The horse was going to win, but ended up being beaten a head."
Young Irish jockey Adrian Lane will also be out of action for a while after a couple of separate offences at Cartmel's evening meeting.
His first misdemeanour came on his winning ride on Identity Parade in the novices' hurdle when he was found to have used his whip with excessive frequency, for which he picked up a nine-day ban.
Just 30 minutes later, riding Danny Zuko into third in the selling hurdle, he was suspended for a further four days, two for careless riding and two more for excessive use of the whip.
Meanwhile, ahead of Friday's Epsom Oaks, Michael Jarvis confirmed an ambitious schedule for Sajjhaa, an eyecatching winner of her first and only start at Sandown 11 days ago by seven lengths.
The King's Best filly will step straight from maiden to Group One company.
"She's in great order," said Jarvis, who sent out Eswarah to take the Oaks five years ago with only two previous outings under her girth.
With a dry week forecast, watering of the track will start at Epsom this morning. "I'm calling the going good, good to firm in places," said the clerk of the course Andrew Cooper.
Kieren Fallon took his first Classic of the year yesterday, albeit one of Europe's lesser ones. In the Grade Two Italian Oaks, the Clare native brought the Luca Cumani-trained Contredanse home by inches from another British raider, Richard Hannon's Middle Club.
Contredanse had previously won two handicaps this year but on her final run at two had finished third behind Friday's Epsom favourite, Aviate.
In the Premio Carlo Vittadini, Cumani had to settle for minor honours with Summit Surge. The six-year-old was second behind the Michael Jarvis-trained Pressing.