Racing: Applausegreets Bradley on course

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The Independent Online
A DIFFICULT week for Graham Bradley continued at Cheltenham yesterday when his only mount, Country Star, suffered a fatal injury. However, the jockey who on Wednesday was bailed on a charge of conspiring to cheat received a warm welcome from the crowd and his fellow riders and remains optimistic of a favourable result to his meeting today with the Jockey Club which will decide whether he is allowed to continue riding.

"I'm very optimistic about tomorrow," Bradley said. "I want to carry on doing something I've loved doing for 22 years."

As Country Star strode round the parade ring the sparse crowd broke into warm applause with several spectators shouting: "Come on Brad."

However the race failed to provide him with a boost as Country Star, the 5-2 joint-favourite, broke down when in the lead as he approached the third last. Bradley was pitched from the saddle as he pulled up the stricken horse but escaped unhurt. His mount broke his near hind-leg and was put down.

Also at Cheltenham was Charlie Brooks, the trainer of Man Mood, the odds-on favourite which Bradley is accused of stopping in a two-horse race at Warwick in November 1996.

"I'm here today to back up Graham," Brooks said. "I'm appalled that he's got into this terrible situation on a horse that I trained. I've no doubt that's he done nothing wrong and I'm 100 per cent behind him."

Bradley's riding colleagues also gave him a warm welcome when he arrived at the course. "The weighing room is being very supportive and most of the racing fraternity are supportive," the senior rider Carl Llewellyn said.