Champions Day: Andrea Atzeni ruled out after ban confusion

Fri 19 Oct 2018

Andrea Atzeni will miss his three rides on Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday due to a ban incurred in France on Arc weekend.

Atzeni was suspended for two days (October 20 and 21) for a riding offence at ParisLongchamp on October 6, a penalty reciprocated by the British Horseracing Authority.

However, on Monday, the BHA received a call from Atzeni’s representative applying for one day of the suspension (October 20) be moved. Riders are permitted to do that with suspensions of four days or less in Britain.

And owing to what the BHA said in a statement was a “procedural error” he was mistakenly informed this application could be approved and that he was free to move the suspension and therefore ride on Champions Day.

He was subsequently declared to ride three horses, but France Galop, the French racing authority, alerted the BHA on Friday afternoon to say the application should not have been approved.

The French system allows riders to request to remove and not serve one day of suspension per year, but as Atzeni had already used this concession in 2018, that option was not available to him.

The BHA informed Atzeni’s representative of the development and the trainers of the horses he was due to ride were asked to make alternative arrangements.

Atzeni was due to ride Lightning Spear in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Thomas Hobson in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup and Sharja Bridge in the Balmoral Handicap.

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