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PJA to write to BHA over sand storm following Da Silva ban

Raul da Silva: rider served ban on Monday
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The Professional Jockeys Association says it will write to the BHA for clarification over what it describes as the "ridiculous" rule that led to Raul da Silva receiving a one-day ban for throwing sand at his mount at Chelmsford last week.

Da Silva was due to ride Sandkissed in a novice auction stakes, but the 100-1 outsider was reluctant to load, so the rider gently tossed a handful of the Polytrack surface at her quarters, which seemed to do the trick as she entered the stalls.

The incident was captured on television and stewards suspended him for one day for improper conduct, deeming his behaviour an "unacceptable method of encouragement".

Many in the sport criticised the decision and Da Silva, supported by Sandkissed's trainer Amy Murphy, was also left baffled by it, saying: "What I did helped the horse go forward. I think I did the right thing; I didn't know you're not allowed to do that."

He had considered appealing against the ban – and was encouraged to do so by his weighing-room colleagues – but served it on Monday.

That might not be the end of the matter though.

Dale Gibson, the PJA's executive director for racing, said: "We were minded to appeal Raul's suspension from Chelmsford on Thursday. However Raul called the BHA on Friday and moved his day, which you're allowed to do through the flexible suspension system, to Monday and therefore lost the opportunity to appeal it.

"However, we will be writing to the BHA to ask for clarification to what many horsemen strongly believe is just a ridiculous rule."

In response, Robin Mounsey, media manager for the BHA, said: “The reasoning behind the stewards’ decision to impose a suspension on the jockey was that jockeys shouldn’t be throwing anything at their horses to encourage them to load. It does not look good, and it is hard to know how a horse is going to react to having something thrown at it.

“That said, we always welcome constructive dialogue with our participants on rules matters. We would be happy to speak with the PJA to provide clarity on this matter.”

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I think I did the right thing; I didn't know you're not allowed to do that

Key data

Raul Da Silva
E.W. Terms
Sky bet