Racing: Culloty likely to miss Best Mate's Christmas date

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The Independent Online

Jim Culloty is facing up to a month out of action and could miss the ride on Best Mate in the leading steeplechaser's next two outings. Henrietta Knight's stable jockey was thrown through the wing of a hurdle by Abu Dancer in a novices' race at Taunton on Thursday and sustained a fracture of the right forearm.

Culloty had been enjoying a fine run of success for Knight's in-form stable but will now miss some high-profile rides in lucrative races, commencing with Lord Noelie in today's Hennessy Gold Cup. Richard Guest, this year's Grand National-winning jockey, deputises aboard the top weight.

But it is missing the ride on Best Mate that will hurt Culloty most. The gelding is due to have his next run at Sandown on Friday, after which a decision will be made about his participation in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

"I saw a specialist in London this morning," Culloty said yesterday. "I've got to go and see him again on Monday week. It's basically a crack and I'm hoping to be back in a month."

Stewards at Southwell were busy yesterday as three jockeys found themselves in trouble. The worst offender was Darren Williams, who was suspended for 14 days for dropping his hands and failing to ride out Approachable in the seller.

Approachable, the favourite, and the winner Indian Sun were involved in a struggle up the straight before Williams momentarily stopped riding close home. Although he picked up the reins again before the line, it was too late and the pair were beaten by a short-head.

Fergus Sweeney was suspended for one day for careless riding after his mount Lockstock took the maiden, and Shane Kelly was banned for four days after the auction maiden for improper riding on the runner-up Red Wine.