Maguire misses out on Cheltenham

Jockey Jason Maguire has lost an appeal against the 14-day ban he picked up at Ludlow last week which rules him out of the upcoming Cheltenham Festival.

Maguire misses out on Cheltenham

It will be the second year in succession Maguire has missed the Festival after being seriously injured on the Monday before the meeting last year.

The Grand National-winning rider finished seventh aboard the BenPauling-trained Born To Succeed in the Onny Maiden Hurdle, which was won by 20-1 shot King Alfonso.

Maguire’s ride was beaten 24 lengths, but the local stewards found him guilty of “schooling/conditioning the horse on the racecourse”.

The jockey is due to be sidelined between March 4-17 but did have his deposit returned.

As for Pauling, his original £3,000 fine also remains and Born To Succeed is banned form running for 40 days.

Meanwhile, owner Barry Connell is still “actively considering” whether to stump up £27,500 to supplement Foxrock for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Ted Walsh-trained seven-year-old has progressed out of handicaps to beat all bar Carlingford Lough in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown earlier this month.

Quoted around the 12-1 mark, Foxrock would be far from making up the numbers in the feature race of the season.

“The Gold Cup option is still open,” said Connell. “We don’t have to supplement him until the Saturday before, March 7. We are still actively considering it and at this stage it is still a possibility. I don’t think we’ll make the final call until we have to if I’m honest, we’ll just see how he is.”

Connell also has the likes Champagne James, The Tullow Tank and Gwencily Berbas in his Cheltenham team, but it is his Albert Bartlett runner he is most looking forward to.

“All the others are grand, I really fancy Martello Tower and think he’s my bet of the meeting,” said Connell.

Martello Tower can be backed at 16-1 with Ladbrokes.

Nigel Twiston-Davies insists there is nothing between The New One and Faugheen in the Stan James Champion Hurdle. With Faugheen hot favourite for the Willie Mullins operation.

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