Barry Geraghty’s 30-day ban overturned

Barry Geraghty had his 30-day ban for his ride on Noble Emperor at Limerick quashed last evening after a lengthy appeal at the Turf Club.

The suspension would have ruled him out of riding at next week’s Punchestown Festival.

The Gold Cup-winning jockey was hit with the ban after finishing second aboard the Tony Martin-trained eight-year-old in the www.limerickraces.ie Handicap Hurdle on April 3, a race won by Velocity Boy, who made all having opened up a big advantage on the field from an early stage.

Acting under Rule 212, which governs running and riding, the local stewards were of the opinion Geraghty had failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing, banning him for 30 days, with the horse prevented from running for 60 days and Martin fined €3,000 .

Martin appealed against his fine and owner JP McManus the horse’s 60-day ban, with those appeals also successful as the appeal board agreed to overturn the original verdict and exonerate all parties, after a hearing that lasted over three hours.

Evidence was heard from Geraghty, Martin, Patrick Kennedy for McManus, journalist Donn McClean and fellow jockey Brian O’Connell.

Geraghty told the appeal board at the Turf Club that he would have been more likely to finish fifth than second had he tried to go with Velocity Boy and that the horses that had tried to go with the winner had paid the price.

Meanwhile “everything is in the mix” for Willie Mullins as he prepares his final assault on a first British trainers’ championship with Vautour entered in the Bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

The easy Ryanair Chase winner could bid to make amends for an expensive fall at Aintree, where he was a long odds-on favourite.

Mullins has also entered Ballycasey, Sir Des Champs, Valseur Lido and Vroum Vroum Mag in the extended two-mile-six-furlong contest. Defending champion Paul Nicholls - who led Mullins by £45,380 at the close of play on Monday - could call on Art Mauresque, former champion chaser Dodging Bullets, Rocky Creek, Saphir Du Rheu and Wonderful Charm. Al Ferof, Bishops Road and Menorah are others among the 21 entered.

In the Bet365 Select Hurdle Mullins and Nicholls have eight of the 17 entries. Shaneshill and Vroum Vroum Mag are the pick of the Mullins possibles, with Ptit Zig and Silsol heading up the Nicholls team.

However, they all might have to go some to beat The New One, who skipped the Scottish Champion Hurdle in favour of this. Diamond King, Maximiser, Vaniteux and If In Doubt add further spice to a cracking renewal.

The feature Bet365 Celebration Chase, set to feature Sprinter Sacre and Un De Sceaux, has been reopened after only nine entries were received, while Nicholls and Mullins have entries in all the other races on what is the finale of the season in Britain.

Mullins said: “They’re all just entries at the moment. I haven’t had a chance to look through them yet, so I’ll do that at some stage and see where we are.”

Asked how likely Vautour was to make an appearance at Sandown, he added: “Everything is in the mix at the moment.”

Mullins also confirmed his next runners in Britain would be at Perth on Wednesday. He also has Miss Me Now entered in a mares novices’ hurdle at Taunton on the same afternoon, but she will not take up that engagement.

Meanwhile, Sprinter Sacre’s trainer Nicky Henderson said he was thrilled with the way his stable star took his exertions at Cheltenham in regaining his Champion Chase crown, and only unsuitably soft ground would be likely to scupper his participation.

The Seven Barrows handler said: “His work on Sunday was very good. It looks like it’s going to be all systems go. The only thing which would put me off is soft ground. I would not ask him to run on that.“If it was soft we could go to Punchestown, but we want to go to Sandown.”


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