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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Twenty-six jockeys face disciplinary action over Aintree delays

Grand National: runners and riders were twice called back at the start
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Twenty-six jockeys are expected to discover on Friday whether they will face disciplinary action following delays to the start of last month's Randox Health Grand National at Aintree.

However, Robbie Power and four others who rode in the race have been told they are not facing action, and will not be part of the unusual inquiry.

Runners and riders were twice called back at the National start after some charged off before the starter was satisfied an orderly line had formed.

The starter exonerated nine jockeys and in addition to Power, Katie Walsh, Davy Russell, Harry Cobden and David Noonan have been cleared following the review of video footage by the BHA. The remaining 26, including Derek Fox who won the race on One For Arthur, are accused of approaching the tape before the flag was raised.

It is understood the jockeys, who will be absent from the disciplinary panel inquiry, will accept the rule breach, which carries penalties ranging from cautions to short suspensions.

The episode has echoes of a similar but more controversial occurrence in 2014 when 39 jockeys refused to attend a stewards' inquiry on the day following a botched start, for which they later received cautions at a rescheduled hearing. The 1993 National was declared void after a false start amid enormous controversy after seven horses led home by Esha Ness completed the entire race.

Professional Jockeys Association chief executive Paul Struthers said on Thursday: "Irrespective of tomorrow's hearing I thought there was very little, if anything, wrong with this year's Grand National start as the actual false start was outside everyone's control.

"Since the change to the procedures three years ago, jumps starts generally have gone very well but there remains one issue in relation to big fields that can cause issues, which I believe needs addressing and we will be speaking to our members and the BHA about it in due course."

I thought there was very little, if anything, wrong with this year's Grand National start

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