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PJA to appeal on behalf of seven jockeys banned in the void-race drama at Sandown

Sun 8 Dec 2019

All seven jockeys banned in the void-race drama at Sandown on Saturday are to have appeals lodged on their behalf.

The Betfair London National was voided on safety grounds, with the Venetia Williams-trained Houblon Des Obeaux being attended to after suffering what was later reported to be a fatal heart attack after jumping the Pond fence on the first circuit.

Approaching the same obstacle for a second time, a member of the ground staff displayed a yellow flag, which is shown to indicate to riders that there is a serious incident ahead and that jockeys must stop riding and the race declared void.

Watch how the riders negotiated the Pond fence after the yellow flag was unfurled

Seven riders instead bypassed the fence and stricken horse, continuing to the finish with the race ‘won’ by Philip Donovan aboard Doing Fine for Neil Mulholland.

As well as Donovan, Jamie Moore, Daryl Jacob, Adam Wedge, Stan Sheppard, Harry Skelton and James Davies were handed 10-day suspensions. The bans are due to start on December 21.

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: “First and foremost our thoughts go out to Venetia, her team and the owners of Houblon Des Obeaux and we shouldn’t let what happened subsequently let us lose sight of that.

“We will be lodging an appeal on behalf of all the riders who were suspended and it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment further until after that appeal has concluded.”

Andrew Cooper, Clerk of the Course, gave an informative interview on Racing TV's Luck On Sunday breakfast show and said he was satisfied his staff had followed all the procedures and protocol set out by the authorities.

He added that communication with racegoers was the duty of the BHA's Stewarding Team.

You can watch the whole interview above.

Dan Skelton was among the trainers unhappy with the penalties given to the seven jockeys on Saturday.

Others voiced their displeasure on Sunday, with Grand National-winning trainer Lucina Russell, replying to Racing TV's Lydia Hislop on Twitter, saying: "The yellow flag does not work. Please do not make out it is "the jockeys" fault; they are trying their best and to make out they are disobeying orders without care is wrong. The yellow flag does not work."

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