Currie successfully appeals against controversial ten-day Lingfield suspension
Apprentice Nicola Currie on Thursday expressed her delight following a successful appeal against the controversial ten-day suspension she received at Lingfield last month.
Currie, 24, had initially been found guilty by stewards of not taking all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure her horse ran on its merits for her ride on the Richard Hughes-trained Tojosimbre, who finished a running-on fourth in the 2m handicap on September 26.
Philip Curl, chairing the disciplinary panel, singled out inconclusive video evidence of Currie and Tojosimbre at a crucial period of the race as key in overturning the decision.
The array of side-on, head-on and normal camera views focused on the leading group of four runners turning into the straight, thereby leaving doubt in the mind of the three-man disciplinary panel over the movements of Currie and Tojosimbre on the turn for home.
Curl said: “We've decided to allow the appeal as we're not satisfied with the BHA’s case, which hasn't been helped by a lack of evidence for approximately nine seconds of the race where no camera footage can clearly show Ms Currie as she makes her way into the home straight aboard Tojosimbre.”
Lyn Williams, who presented the BHA's case, argued in the appeal that Currie allowed the gap between herself and the leader and eventual winner Alternate Route to extend from six lengths to 12 between the three-and-a-half furlong marker and two-furlong pole, claiming there was a lack of a timely, real and substantial effort.
Rory Mac Neice, acting on behalf of Currie, argued “a natural risk in riding a hold-up horse is traffic and the margins are narrow”, adding that Currie’s effort in the home straight demonstrated her seeking the best possible placing aboard Tojosimbre.
Currie, who has enjoyed a breakthrough year with nine winners, including three victories aboard the John Berry-trained Kryptos, expressed her satisfaction with the verdict.
She said: “I’m delighted and we achieved the result we thought we were entitled to. The suspension and appeal process has obviously been going round in my head but I didn’t let it affect what I was doing on a daily basis or change the way I ride.
“It was quite daunting this morning but Rory made me very comfortable – he told me to say it how it was and as if I was telling it to my friend sat next to me – so that’s exactly what I did in giving evidence.
“Thankfully the panel have seen how I’ve ridden the race and viewed it the right way.”
Currie, who had her £250 appeal deposit returned, has worked for Hughes for a year and a half and expressed her gratitude to the former multiple champion jockey.
She said: “The support I’ve had from Richard and the team has been brilliant. As an apprentice I’ve never had to deal with a situation like this before and sometimes you can think too much into it and make a mountain out of a molehill, but everyone’s support has helped me look at the situation with perspective.
“I’m going to try to really kick on in the winter and take advantage of a few riders going abroad. I want to be riding out my claim as quick as I can.”
Hughes added: “I’m delighted the powers that be have seen sense. Nicola has shown a great willingness to learn and better herself – I was upset the stewards slammed down on her, particularly as it's during a period going into the winter where she can really get going.”
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