Racing: Jockey Club to scrutinise McCoy's whip use on Beeno

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The Independent Online

The disciplinary wing of racing officialdom is geared up for a busy week with whipping incidents, farcical finishes, breathalyser tests and a whole sea of urine samples on which to adjudicate.

Most importantly, Jockey Club officials are to gather in a darkened room to study video recordings of the incident in which Deano's Beeno was cajoled by Tony McCoy with 50 touches of the whip at the start of a race on New Year's Eve.

The champion jockey was banned for five days for persuading the Martin Pipe-trained 12-year-old to jump off before the start of the Spa Hurdle at Cheltenham. That was deemed to be an unsavoury sight for the viewers of Channel 4 according to the stewards - who clearly have not seen some of that station's evening output.

"I don't think there will be any imminent announcement or decision coming out," John Maxse, the Jockey Club's director of public relations, said yesterday. "We just need a little time to pool the thoughts of those at this end.

"It's to see, in reviewing the incident, if we can work out what can be done to reduce the chances of the situation recurring. If a rider did what Tony McCoy did, then I'm afraid he's going to have to face the music. But that doesn't stop us looking at anything that can be done to reduce the chances of a rider finding himself in that position in the first place."

Speaking of which, the Club will also need to have future prevention in mind when it considers an appeal by the "Ludlow Seven" at 10am today. The jockeys are questioning the severity of a 19-day ban each received for taking the wrong course and failing to pull up in a race at the Shropshire track last month. The riders involved are Marcus Foley, Timmy Murphy, Mark Nicolls, James Davies, Paddy Brennan, Antony Evans and Gabriel Hannon.

Two more riders, Keith Dalgleish and Joe Fanning, will be on the carpet on Thursday when they learn their punishments for entering the history books as the first riders to fail breathalyser tests in Britain.

Tests for riders were introduced in July and Dalgleish became the first to fall foul of the procedures at Redcar on 15 September. Two checks revealed he had tested above the permitted alcohol threshold. Fanning failed a breathalyser, also at Redcar, on 3 November.

Maxse said: "The penalties are largely decided upon by the level of alcohol in the urine. There are two tiers. If the urine sample shows an alcohol level above the drink-driving limit, then they are looking at a suspension of up to a month. However, if the urine sample shows an alcohol level below that of drink driving, but is still a positive in our book, then the protocol for a first offence recommends a caution."

Also on Thursday some equine urine will come under scrutiny: that of Three Valleys taken after his win in the Middle Park Stakes, a race he will now lose. The top two-year-old tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, administered to treat mucus in the lungs of Roger Charlton's colt.

If Three Valleys is stripped of his win it would result in the promotion to first place of Balmont, trained by Jeremy Noseda and ridden that day by the now-retired Pat Eddery. The veteran would gain an extra Group One success to add to his long roll of achievements and statisticians and quiz compilers everywhere would gain a valuable snippet with which to confound the rest of us.

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