Racing: Jockeys on the mat for weighing-room fracas

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The Independent Online

Lightweights turned heavyweight at Lingfield yesterday. Jockeys Neil Callan and Shane Kelly have been referred to the Jockey Club after a clash in the weighing room in the wake of an incident in the second race. They will face charges under the rule that deals with violent or improper conduct and which carries a maximum financial penalty of £5,000 or even a period of disqualification or exclusion.

Lightweights turned heavyweight at Lingfield yesterday. Jockeys Neil Callan and Shane Kelly have been referred to the Jockey Club after a clash in the weighing room in the wake of an incident in the second race. They will face charges under the rule that deals with violent or improper conduct and which carries a maximum financial penalty of £5,000 or even a period of disqualification or exclusion.

The altercation, caught on video, took place before the pair weighed in after the mile maiden. Callan had won the race on 2-1 shot Rock Music, trained by David Loder, but in the process had interfered with Kelly's mount, Elopement, who finished eighth of 11. The stewards later gave Callan a six-day ban for careless riding, finding that he had manoeuvred his mount sharply right-handed about five furlongs out, pushing Elopement off her intended line.

The stewards looked at a recording of the weighing-room barney and interviewed both riders as well as weighing-room security officer Graham Prentice and stipendiary steward Paul Barton, who were witnesses to the event. Because of the severity of the offence, it will be further investigated and judged by the disciplinary committee at the Jockey Club's London headquarters.

The one-rounder marred a successful day for the jockeys, as they both rode two winners. After scoring on Rock Music Callan, the leading all-weather rider, completed a 32-1 double on 10-1 shot Double M in the seven-furlong handicap. Kelly's 17.3-1 brace came on Resplendent Glory (13-8) in the six-furlong handicap and Piddies Pride (6-1) in the seller, with Callan runner-up in both.

At Huntingdon, Alan King and Robert Thornton were on the mark with two potentially smart young hurdlers, one bound for Cheltenham, the other more likely to be held in reserve for Aintree.

Penzance, a half-brother to the crack Flat mare Soviet Song and like her owned by Elite Racing, made it two from two over hurdles as he accounted for 100-1 shot La Professoressa by an easy seven lengths in the second division of the novices' two-miler. "He will need one more race before we go to the Festival, probably the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton," said King, who has a 40-1 voucher about his charge for the Triumph Hurdle.

In beating odds-on favourite Prins Willem by two lengths, Voy Por Ustedes, acquired in December by the Million In Mind partnership as a replacement for ill-fated Massac, put paid to the Festival aspirations of the James Fanshawe-trained Flat recruit. "It's thought he goes better on a flat track, so we are leaning towards Aintree rather than Cheltenham," added King.

Monty's Pass, the 2003 Grand National winner, will face six rivals today when he makes his seasonal debut over fences at Thurles. The 12-year-old has failed to score over jumps since his Aintree triumph - his most recent outing resulted in a rare tumble over hurdles two weeks ago - and his opponents in this afternoon's Kinloch Brae Chase include three high-class specialists over the two-and-a-half mile distance in Central House, Rathgar Beau and Native Upmanship, going for a fourth successive win in the Grade 2 race.

"I'd thought of running him in the National Trial at Punchestown on Sunday," said trainer Jimmy Mangan, "but he'd have been giving a lot of weight away. He's in good form."

Mark Rimell has decided to miss Saturday's Victor Chandler Chase with his smart Oneway, who will instead go for the Elmbridge Chase at Sandown a week later. The eight-year-old, on a five-timer, would have been racing from 17lb out of the handicap because of the anticipated presence of top-weight Well Chief.

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