Bridgwater is banned

David Bridgwater, runner-up on Encore Un Peu in Saturday's Grand National, was banned for five days at Exeter yesterday after being found guilty of excessive use of the whip aboard Habasha. His mount was never travelling well in the mares handicap hurdle and Bridgwater rode with determination to put her into contention before failing by a head to catch Hullo Mary Doll.

But the stewards were not impressed and found him guilty of using his whip with unreasonable frequency and stood him down for five days (10, 11, 13, 15 and 16 April).

Colin Vickers, the stewards' secretary, said: "The stewards felt Bridgwater breached the rules on two counts as he hit the horse 12 times, some of which were out of stride pattern."

Bridgwater said: "She was favourite, is a little ungenuine and if I hadn't ridden her out they might have had me in for not trying. So what am I supposed to do?"

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