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'It's a disgrace' - McCoy seethes at Cheltenham ban for Irish amateur jockeys

Declan Lavery is among those banned for acting against the welfare of their horse.

An animated AP McCoy on ITV's racing coverage earlier today.
An animated AP McCoy on ITV's racing coverage earlier today.
Image: Virgin Media Sport Twitter

A.P. MCCOY HAS branded the British Horseracing Authority’s decision to suspend three amateur jockeys after yesterday’s final race at Cheltenham as “undefendeable.” 

Three jockeys were given bans totalling 37 days for continuing in yesterday’s National Hunt Challenge Cup “when it appeared contrary to the horse’s welfare.” Only four of 18 starting horses finished the four-mile race, with Ireland’s Declan Lavery riding Jerrysback to third place.

Lavery was given a ten-day ban on welfare grounds, while Irish jockey Rob James – aboard Just Your Type, who fell at the last fence – was given a 12-day ban for the same offence, and an additional seven days for the use of the whip. 

Noel McParlan, meanwhile, was given a ten-day ban for the same offence. 

I’m embarrassed for the BHA – talk about bringing racing into disrepute, Ed”, said McCoy during ITV’s coverage of the Cheltenham festival.

“The horse that finished third, Jerrysback, got £13,000.

“Two horses fell at the second last. A horse’s natural instinct is to more or less pull up, he did that. I never thought at any stage that he did the wrong thing.

“The horse was perfectly fine this morning, the horse’s welfare was not an issue.

“My big thing is what would have happened if the first and second horses had fallen? What was Declan Lavery supposed to do then?

“I’ve been coming to Cheltenham for 25 years.

Brant Dunshea from the BHA is Australian. I don’t know what experience he has of jump racing. They don’t have jump racing in Australia and they’re letting people like that make the decisions.

“It’s wrong. I have never seen as bad a decision in 25 years coming to Cheltenham.

“Imagine punters backing him if the other two had fallen and he’d pulled up. It’s undefendable.

“What are we going to do? Are we going to do away with racing then? Not have four-mile races? And then what happens? Do what they did in Australia?

“Come out and explain to the punters who backed Jerrysback, or the owner. Some poor owner would like to come to Cheltenham and walk into the winner’s enclosure with a horse that came third or fourth, and you’re going to take that away from them? 

“Don’t start. Ugh, I can’t. 

“It’s a disgrace. It’s undefendable.”

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Gavin Cooney

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