McGillivray banned for a month after causing Magic Millions carnage
It is rare the jockey who finishes fourth overshadows the winner of the big race but Matt McGillivray caused such severe interference in the Magic Millions Classic that his ride on Ef Troop – and the resulting one-month ban – stole all the headlines.
Sunlight won the eventful Aus$2 million (£1.15m/€1.30m) Gold Coast contest but was the last horse anyone was talking about after McGillivray pleaded guilty to the stewards' charges.
With four and a half furlongs to run of the six-furlong race for two-year-olds McGillivray, who was drawn wide and was moving for the rail rounding the bend, squeezed Sunlight on to Secret Lady, who in turn left Hugh Bowman with nowhere to go on Jonker and was forced into the running rail.
"I didn’t anticipate the turn would come that quickly," McGillivray told reporters. "I was riding my horse along and tried to relieve the pressure on the inside. But I didn't do it soon enough."
Melbourne Cup-winning jockey turned trainer Michelle Payne branded the incident "disgraceful" on Twitter. She tweeted: "We’ve all been guilty of careless riding at some stage but that was absolute blatant disrespect for his fellow riders. Disgraceful."
The stewards agreed and suspended McGillivray for a month from February 13. Chief steward Allan Reardon reportedly said the suspension would have been longer but for the 26-year-old jockey trying to turn Ef Troop's head at the point of interference.
Bowman, who was lucky not to come down, reportedly shook McGillivray's hand before leaving the track and wished him luck in the stewards' room.
Sunlight's jockey Luke Currie also picked up a ban, in his case for 12 days, for interference in an earlier race. He too pleaded guilty to causing interference on Oak Door in the Magic Millions Cup. He will return to riding on January 26.
Sunlight was co-bred by Widden Stud and Qatar Racing with both parties co-owning the sire Zoustar. Being owned by an all-female syndicate led by David Redvers assistant Hannah Wall made Sunlight eligible for a $325,000 (£187,287.75/€210745.15) bonus as the first all-female-owned horse home.
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