Racing: Murphy rides 'Bandit' after ban is cut

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The Independent Online

Timmy Murphy was yesterday freed to ride Therealbandit in Sunday's King George VI Chase at Kempton after a seven-day ban was reduced to just one day on appeal to the Jockey Club.

Timmy Murphy was yesterday freed to ride Therealbandit in Sunday's King George VI Chase at Kempton after a seven-day ban was reduced to just one day on appeal to the Jockey Club.

The jockey was initially due to start his ban on Boxing Day and he would have been out of action until New Year's Day after being found guilty of improper riding at Plumpton on 13 December.

Murphy's mount Semi Precious crashed out at the fourth-last fence and the rider reacted by throwing his whip at the horse. However, the penalty was drastically reduced by the disciplinary panel yesterday and Murphy will now be on the Martin Pipe-trained runner.

Murphy said: "I think the Jockey Club are correct to do as much as they can [to protect horses], but at the end of the day a little common sense has to come into it. You can't do enough for the welfare of horses, which I think the Jockey Club do, but a small bit of sense has to come into it somewhere down the line."

David Johnson, the horse's owner, had secured the services of Richard Johnson for Therealbandit in case Murphy lost his appeal, but Johnson will now switch to another of Pipe's runners, Tiutchev.

Malcolm Wallace, director of regulation at the Jockey Club, said: "It was improper riding, but the panel accepted there was no abuse of the horse."

Johnson is still left with a dilemma as his Well Chief is due to tackle the Castleford Chase at Wetherby on Monday - the day Murphy is suspended.

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