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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

One-day bans for 26 jockeys over Aintree false starts

Grand National: runners and riders were twice called back at the start
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All 26 jockeys involved in the false starts at the beginning of last month's Randox Health Grand National have been handed one-day bans by the BHA's disciplinary panel.

The field was called back twice before the Aintree showpiece got under way, with some runners having charged away before the starter was satisfied an orderly line had been formed. 

Nine riders were cleared of any wrongdoing by the starter, while a further five, including Robbie Power, Katie Walsh and Davy Russell, were told they would face no action after a review of video footage.

The 26 riders include race winner Derek Fox, Ruby Walsh and Noel Fehily, and 22 of them will be banned on May 13, three on May 15, and Fox on May 16.

"The 26 jockeys were charged because, as the disciplinary panel found, they did not take a turn when the starter requested, which is in contravention to rules which were agreed between the BHA and Professional Jockeys Association three years ago," said BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey after Friday's hearing.

"Since the new jump starting procedures were implemented the majority of the feedback we've received from the jockeys and other sources has been supportive of the procedures, and the frequency of false starts has decreased significantly."

PJA chief executive Paul Struthers said: "Whilst we were disappointed the 26 jockeys were charged, we're pleased we were subsequently able to have constructive discussions with the BHA ahead of the hearing and we credit the BHA for this approach. The outcome is one that reflects some of the mitigating circumstances."

Struthers added: "Jump starts inevitably require a great deal of co-operation and trust between jockeys and starters, and the new starting procedures have been an understated success since their introduction.

"The focus inevitably falls on those relatively few high-profile occasions when there are false or unsatisfactory starts. This focus is perhaps unfair, but there remains a common theme on many of those occasions and I'm sure that jockeys and the BHA can continue to work constructively together to address it."

Whilst we were disappointed that the jockeys were charged, we're pleased we were subsequently able to have constructive discussions with the BHA
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