Suspension misery for Waley-Cohen

GOLD Cup-winning rider Sam Waley-Cohen left Taunton yesterday in frustration after picking up his third suspension in less than a month.

As Waley-Cohen is an amateur, he can only be banned on days where there is a race staged in that category, but he had already amassed a total of 15 days to serve during January and February, with a dozen of those coming about when he rode a finish a circuit too early at Fakenham.

He was also given three days for allowing Long Run to hang in on the bend entering the second circuit of the King George and received the same amount on what was only his second ride under Rules since that occasion on Time For Spring in the tauntonracecourse.co.uk Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

The stewards found he had used his whip without giving his mount time to respond approaching the second-last fence. The new days will be February 16, 17 and 19.

The 29-year-old, whose next major engagement is likely to be on Long Run in the Betfair Denman Chase on February 11, was reluctant to speak to reporters and said: “I’m not sure if I’ll appeal and I really don’t want to comment at the moment.”

Time For Spring was still in front at the last, but Waley-Cohen had been tracked all the way by a patient Will Kennedy, who gave Made In Time (8-1) just enough rope to win well by two and a quarter lengths on the run-in.

Neither trainer Rebecca Curtis nor owner JP McManus were present and Kennedy said: “Although I thought two miles and seven would suit, I wanted to keep a little bit of speed for late on and I saw that Sam and Jamie Moore (Vino Griego) were racing. “He’d unseated the last two times and maybe been unlucky, but the trainer said he’d schooled well yesterday and he jumped nicely.”

The undoubted performance of the day came from Darlan in the southwest-racing.co.uk Novices’ Hurdle, as much as jockey Barry Geraghty attempted to pour cold water on it.

Another in the McManus silks but trained by Nicky Henderson, 10-11 favourite Darlan was stretching his unbeaten record to four and was cut to 14-1 by Coral for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Although he made hard work of his most recent victory at Cheltenham, this was far more impressive and Geraghty was simply cantering alongside Ruby Walsh and Jump City despite the margin of half a length

Geraghty said: “He’s done it well but he probably made it look easier than it was. He’s one of those that you just say ’whoah’ and he goes.

“Jump City has been disappointing in the past and a couple of the others would need the run, but he still won nicely.”

Henderson was not present and Geraghty could shed no light on targets.

“Nicky just loans them to me for the day,” he said.

What turned out to be an eventful afternoon also featured a 200-1 shock in the European Breeders’ Fund Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle as Lights Of Broadway led home Wishes And Stars (50-1) and Fortuna Rose (33-1).

Jo Hughes’ mare, the biggest-priced winner since Mao Chinn Tire at Wetherby in October, 2010, was given a huge helping hand as Night Rose took a crunching fall at the second-last flight when looking like assuming the lead.

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