Davy Russell banned for four days for Tramore incident

Davy Russell has been banned for four days following an appeals body hearing into an incident which took place at Tramore last month.

Following an investigation, Russell was originally given a caution with no further punishment from the referrals committee after appearing to strike his mount, Kings Dolly, before a race on August 18.

However, after an internal review the Turf Club said the registrar of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee had asked the appeals body to look at the findings of the referrals committee "on the grounds that it was unduly lenient".

Russell, twice champion jockey and winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2014 on Lord Windermere, had argued he wanted the horse to concentrate and that it was inappropriate to use the whip under the circumstances.

But the rider's actions were heavily criticised in many quarters, including by the RSPCA, who felt that Russell deserved a stiffer penalty.

David Muir, equine consultant for the RSPCA, hopes lessons will be learned from the affair and the timescales involved in a reaching a final verdict.

He said: "We've all got to be pragmatic about this, Davy Russell has gone through the system for the past two weeks, which has let racing down. If four days was the punishment on the day, there would have been no furore.

"However, because of what happened originally he's gone through two weeks of hearings and what have you, where the end result is four days. I've no complaints over the punishment, but there needs to be a clear line of what is acceptable.

"Punching horses in the head is obviously not and the penalty needs to be clear. If jockeys do that then they need to be severely punished, which is down to the Turf Club and the British Horseracing Authority.

"Hounding a jockey is not right, which is what has happened here, so the Turf Club, and BHA, need to learn from this."

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