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Tom O'Brien

Tom O'Brien: shocked by the ban handed to him at Doncaster

  PICTURE: David Dew  

O'Brien to appeal against ten-day Doncaster ban

JOCKEY Tom O'Brien intends to lodge an appeal against a ten-day ban he received at Doncaster on Wednesday which will rule him out of the Cheltenham Festival.

Riding the Renee Robeson-trained Benefit Cut in the 2m novice hurdle, O'Brien finished seventh of 11.

However, the stewards concluded that the rider had breached the rules by "failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to obtain the best possible position" aboard the seven-year-old, who was beaten a total of 32 lengths. His ban runs from March 6-15 inclusive.

The Racing Post comment for Benefit Cut read: "Took keen hold in rear, kept on from 3 out, never a factor".

O'Brien, a former champion amateur and champion conditional, seemed shocked by the outcome. "He was a 66-1 shot," the rider said. "How could I get him to run any better than that?

"I thought he ran well. I didn't want to completely bottom him; he's a temperamental horse and is very keen. What do you do?"

O'Brien, who has ridden 54 winners this season, has requested a DVD recording of the race and will take advice on Thursday morning before deciding whether to take the matter further.

He added: "I'll be looking to lodge an appeal. It never occurred to me that I'd be in trouble for the ride I gave him."

Winner of a bumper on his debut last June, Benefit Cut had pulled hard when finishing second on his hurdling debut at Leicester in November and had jumped novicey when unplaced at Newbury on his previous outing, two months ago.

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