Racing: Fox's appeal against Jockey Club riding ban to be heard next month

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The Independent Online

Sean Fox has finally been given a date for his appeal against a 21-day ban for his ride on Ice Saint at Fontwell in March. Fox will appear before the Jockey Club disciplinary panel on 10 September after the local stewards found him guilty of breaching rule 157.

They decided he intentionally stepped off the horse in the Cantor Sport Beginners' Chase at the Sussex track. The Matt Gingell-trained gelding opened at 2-1 on course before starting at 4-1 and also drifted on the exchanges, prompting the Jockey Club's security department to launch an investigation. That investigation has now concluded, allowing Fox's appeal to go ahead next month.

The Jockey Club public relations director, John Maxse, has revealed that information gained from that investigation may be used in separate proceedings.

"The hearing on 10 September focuses on Sean Fox and his appeal against his 21-day ban." he said. "It will seek to establish whether he breached the rules of racing when he partnered Ice Saint at Fontwell.

"At the hearing, evidence which was before the Fontwell stewards on the day will be reheard and the disciplinary panel will also consider material which resulted from the security department's subsequent investigations into the race.

"That investigation was not restricted only to the ride Sean Fox gave Ice Saint, and involved the interviewing of a variety of individuals. It is possible that those lines of inquiry could yet feature in separate disciplinary proceedings."

John Blake, the chief executive of the Jockeys' Association, welcomed the news that Fox's appeal will now be able to go ahead. "Sean will have had to endure six months of uncertainty and ridicule while waiting to exercise his right of appeal," said Blake. "Sean has co-operated fully with the Jockey Club's security team and he is pleased that no charges have been brought in relation to any breach of rules concerning any other matter, outside of the race."

* Medical tests have revealed that George Duffield has torn tendons in his shoulder, but the veteran jockey is no nearer knowing when he will be able to return. A scan at Nuffield Hospital in York yesterday uncovered the damage that has kept the 57-year-old out of action for a month.

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