Racing: Knight and Murphy cleared in 'non-trier' case

Henrietta Knight and Timmy Murphy lost twice in one race at Towcester earlier this month when Harringay ran a stinker and the pair were then fined £1,000 and banned for 14 days respectively under a "non-triers" rule. Yesterday, though, they won the big one, on appeal at the Jockey Club, and their punishments were lifted.

Lord Rathcreedan, the chairman of the disciplinary panel, said Harringay had not been ridden to obtain the best possible placing, but, in the circumstances, Murphy's decision on how to ride the horse was not unreasonable. The jockey said he heard his mount making a choking noise. "I'm very happy. It's the right decision," Murphy said.

It had not been a good week for Knight. The Towcester fine came two days after Best Mate's death at Exeter. Yesterday felt better.

"I am very pleased and relieved to have had my name cleared," she said. "I would not have been at all happy if the appeal had not been successful. I always try to do the best for my horses and will continue to do so in the future."

It is not a pretty race to watch, the prosaic Mares' Only National Hunt Novices' Hurdle. Harringay, the well-backed 9-4 second favourite, travelled well and jumped similarly for much of the contest, but was never seen in the front rank. Eventually, after the last, she ran on gently under perfunctory encouragement from the saddle. It was the sort of quiet run which would have had shop punters launching their balled betting slips at the bank of televisions.

What no one knew at the time, though, was that Murphy would return with that favourite of all jockey get-outs, the revelation that the horse gurgled. Only this time it seemed to be true. Harringay possesses a history of breathing problems and her jockey reported he felt her go again on the run to the third last. Observing protocol, he alerted officials to the problem on his return.

Patrick Russell, for the Jockey Club, said the fact of Murphy's unusual stillness in the saddle was not disputed by anyone. "This appeal is over the reason for the quiet ride," he said.

It became distilled to a question of the rectitude of the most famous woman trainer and perhaps the most naturally talented horseman around.

Veterinary evidence was taken from Geoffrey Lane for the defence, an expert in equine respiratory disorders in the upper airways, and, for the Jockey Club, Safia Barakzai of Edinburgh University, who used to be a student of Lane's.

It was Lane who had performed surgery to Harringay, including work on her soft palate and other areas affecting her breathing. It was Lane who witnessed his work failing. "About 60-65 per cent [of the operations] have a successful outcome, but that then means that 35-40 per cent have a disappointing outcome," he said. "Sadly I have to accept that this surgery has apparently failed."

Barakzai gave evidence that Harringay would not have been damaged if Murphy had forced the mare to greater effort. "It is not compromising the welfare of the horse," she said. "The horse is not going to collapse. It will simply fall back."

Punters were not the only figures aghast by Harringay's display. "Initially I was disappointed," Knight added. "I had told Timmy to conserve her strength and get a nice rhythm into her breathing."

It was Knight's breathing which changed when she was asked to appear before the stewards. "I was very, very disappointed," she said. "We don't run our horses like that at all. We run them the best possible way. It has never happened to me before a case like this."

Murphy, who eventually finished fifth on Harringay, said: "That is the closest I could have finished. She was making a noise and I gave her every chance to get home. If a horse is gurgling and you don't give it a chance you will end up pulling up. I wouldn't have even got to the last if I had put her under pressure. I stand by the way I rode her.

"I don't care how much an owner has had on a horse, I don't care how much a trainer has on or the public. It is the horse's best interests which matter for me. If the same thing happened tomorrow I would do the same thing again."

Harringay has already proved a dangerous horse for Knight and Murphy and will continue to be dangerous for punters as she is to be given one more chance on the track, probably with her tongue tied down. "If we are going to run her again we must try something else," Knight said, "otherwise she is going to be a write-off for ever."

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Ladalko (Newbury 3.15)

NB: Garde Champetre

(Newbury 1.35)

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all