Panel rules Maguire can ride in Champion Hurdle

Stan James

Tagged under: 3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)

National Hunt jockey Jason Maguire is free to ride Peddlers Cross in the Stan James Champion Hurdle after winning his appeal against the ban that would have forced him to miss the first day of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival.

Stewards had served Maguire a seven-day ban after objecting to his use of the whip on Cool Mission when finishing second at Doncaster last Wednesday and the ban was set to run from 9-15 March meaning he’d miss the ride on Donald McCain’s charge on the opening day of the Festival.

An initial ban of five days for marking his mount had been increased a further two days for using the whip too frequently and Maguire made an appeal to get the ban reduced. After listening to his argument, the BHA disciplinary panel decided to reduce the length of the ban by one day to allow Maguire to ride in Tuesday’s feature race.

The happy jockey said after hearing the decision: "I'm absolutely delighted. It's brilliant to get back in the Champion Hurdle. It's all systems go now. Rory MacNeice and Graeme McPherson (Maguire's legal team) did a great job.

"It's been hanging over me in the last few days but I've had a lot of support from fellow jockeys and from people at the races. It's the right result for the Champion Hurdle."

The panel accepted McPherson’s case that while Maguire had exceed the acceptable number of times he had used his whip, 6 of the 18 strikes on the horse had been backhanded and therefore less forceful. In coming to the decision, Tim Charlton QC said the panel had taken into account the fact that Maguire had been relatively light on his horse and had later put his whip down.

Donald McCain was relieved to hear his stable jockey would be able to ride in the Champion Hurdle: "I'm absolutely delighted, that goes without saying, but there's also a feeling of relief. The whole thing has not been nice to deal with but this is the right result,“ he said.

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