Sandown: Seven jockeys banned for ignoring flag before race declared void

Sandown Racecourse
The seven jockeys have a right of appeal

Seven jockeys are set to miss the lucrative Christmas and new year racing programmes after receiving bans for ignoring a flag signal to stop a race at Sandown because of a stricken horse.

Philip Donovan 'won' the London National on Doing Fine, but the race was declared void.

The other jockeys are Daryl Jacob, Harry Skelton, Adam Wedge, Jamie Moore, James Davies and Stan Sheppard.

All seven riders have a right of appeal.

There was confusion among jockeys, trainers, owners and punters as a lengthy stewards' inquiry took place.

"I didn't see the flag, but I heard whistles. We all just had the head down," said Moore.

"If you want to stop a race you should have blocked off where we go. If no one had said anything and let the race go, no one would have cared.

"My kids are having a lump of coal for Christmas now, although they might get a cheap Arsenal shirt. Fontwell at Boxing Day is usually a good day for me."

Wedge said the jockeys intended to appeal against the decision.

Jockeys in the London National at Sandown
The London National was the final race on Sandown's card

The incident happened as the veteran steeplechaser Houblon Des Obeaux was being attended to after suffering a fatal heart attack, according to trainer Venetia Williams.

Seven runners finished the race, with the Neil Mulholland-trained Doing Fine coming home first under Philip Donovan, who thought he had secured the biggest win of his fledgling career.

Chris Rutter, the chief steward at Sandown, told Racing TV: "The yellow stop-race flag was put in place because there was a stricken horse on the bend, just coming into the home straight. When there is a yellow stop-race flag, the race has to be declared void.

"There were seven jockeys who continued in the race. The stop-race flag was just to the left of them and they appear to have bypassed it and bypassed the Pond fence and just carried on up the home straight.

"For that reason, all the jockeys who continued in the race were given a 10-day suspension because they failed to stop when they should have stopped.

"There's some confusion - they [the jockeys] said they didn't [see the flag], but the film clearly shows that the flag was there and that some of the jockeys have gone to stop and then started riding again.

"It's either 10 days or nothing and because it looks like they've seen the flag and they've ignored it, they've all got 10 days."

The British Horseracing Authority said: "The stewards on the day determined that, in their view, the stop race procedures were deployed adequately and the riders had the opportunity to see the flag and hear the whistle, and indeed two riders did pull up.

"Therefore the seven jockeys who continued racing were in breach of the rules.

"They have the opportunity to appeal that decision if they wish, in front of an independent panel."

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