Tony McCoy Rages Over Decision To Ban Irish Amateur Jockey At Cheltenham

AP McCoy

AP McCoy

Sir Anthony McCoy accused racing authorities yesterday of bringing the sport into disrepute and described their decision to ban three amateur jockeys as a disgrace, pinning the blame on an Australian official.

"What was Declan supposed to do then?".

"You can't have jump racing if you don't accept fallers", McCoy said. Four of 18 runners finished the four-mile race, which is only open to amateur riders and run on testing ground.

"I am embarrassed by the BHA", McCoy said on ITV's coverage of the Cheltenham Festival.

"I haven't seen as bad a decision in 25 years coming to Cheltenham".

"This is why the stewarding panel, which comprises two former jump jockeys, imposed the penalties on the riders".

McCoy's comments were supported by several prominent British participants on Twitter.

"There's a fine line between welfare and competition", she said.

Welfare is a hot topic at Cheltenham...

The Willie Mullins-trained Ballyward was fatally injured during the National Hunt Challenge Cup on Tuesday.

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Jockeys have been given daily briefings before racing to outline their responsibilities and warned about overusing the whip. "I don't think any of us wanted to see the race pan out in the way it did, and I can understand why the stewards took their decisions".

"It is the responsibility of jockeys to pull up exhausted horses", a BHA spokesman said. Stewards said his mount had made exhausted jumping errors at the final two fences.

Post-race examination of the horses did not reveal any abnormalities.

Damien Skehan, who rode the fourth horse in the National Hunt Chase, is expected to be suspended for the same offence when an inquiry into his riding is belatedly held on Thursday. He was not visible on TV replays during the race's latter stages but stewards evidently took the view that he should have been pulled up before, at least, the final fence.

Oliver added: "The ground became more and more holding as the day progressed - and it was inevitable we would end up with exhausted horses". I never thought at any stage (Lavery) did a thing wrong.

"What about each-way punters?"

"The horse was perfectly fine this morning, the horse's welfare was not an issue".

"My big thing is - what happens if the first and second horse had of fallen?"

But the BHA pointed out that this was not the first time a jockey had been banned under the same rule, despite finishing placed.

"All riders were briefed and reminded of their responsibilities before racing, and this included their responsibilities when it comes to pulling up exhausted horses", a spokesman added. Ted Walsh, the trainer, TV pundit and father of Ruby Walsh, said: "If they continue to do this, they will kill National Hunt racing".

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