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Skelton: we must come together to stop repeat of Sandown chaos

Harry Skelton: one of seven jockeys to have his ten-day ban quashed
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Harry Skelton has called for racing's governing bodies to come together in an effort to stop any recurrence of the chaotic void race at Sandown on December 7. 

Skelton was one of the seven jockeys who had their ten-day suspensions quashed on Tuesday after a disciplinary panel found them not guilty of knowingly ignoring a yellow stop-race flag in the London National. 

After the hearing Skelton said: "It's a success for us but hopefully everyone can take something out of this. Fingers crossed, nothing like this will ever happen again and everyone has been very understanding about it. 

"The last thing a jockey wants is to put anyone at risk and we all just need to work together to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. God forbid anyone had got hurt."

Professional Jockeys Association chief executive Paul Struthers was present throughout the hearing, and added: "We've clearly had a fair hearing and are delighted with the outcome.

"It makes such a difference to the jockeys at such a busy time of year to get those days back. We were always confident of winning the appeal in some way, shape or form. Thanks to the panel, they have clearly given all of Rory's [Mac Niece] representations due consideration."

Following the hearing, a statement from the BHA said: "The stop-race procedures are essential to protect the safety of horses and jockeys, and the medical or veterinary staff who may be treating them on the racecourse.

"The position of the stewards at Sandown was that the existing stop-race procedures were carried out adequately, and that most of the riders heard the whistle and either saw – or should have seen – the stop-race flag, which was deployed directly in the racing line ahead of the pond fence.

"However, we operate a regulatory system which allows for appeals of raceday decisions. We must await the panel’s full written reasons before commenting further on the specifics of this case.

"The current stop race policies were agreed in 2008 between the BHA, PJA and racecourses. However, we have informed the PJA that, if they wish, we would be happy to revisit this discussion, alongside the racecourses."

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We were always confident of winning the appeal in some way shape or form
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