Racing: Ban forces Eddery out of Guineas: Champion jockey's Classic view will be more distant than anticipated. Chris Corrigan reports

Click to follow
The Independent Online
PAT EDDERY'S aggression in defence of his jockeys' title cost him dearly yesterday when a riding ban ruled him out of next week's 2,000 Guineas. His mount in the Newmarket race would have been Distant View or, in that colt's absence, Suplizi, one of the favourites.

The two-day suspension, imposed by the Beverley stewards, not only blocks Eddery's attempt to win the Classic but cuts across his forceful pursuit of Lanfranco Dettori, clear leader in this season's jockeys' championship.

Ironically, Dettori was the beneficiary from the inquiry which followed yesterday's 4.15 at Beverley. Kings Cay, ridden by Eddery, had been first past the post but was demoted by the stewards. Dettori's mount, Kandyan, was promoted to the winner's spot instead.

The champion was punished for his use of the whip on Kings Cay. Both horses wandered as they came under pressure inside the final furlong, but Eddery's mount persistently hung in towards Kandyan near the finish.

After a lengthy inquiry the stewards ruled that Kings Cay had interfered with the other horse. Anthony Gillam, the stewards' secretary, said: 'The stewards were in no doubt that Eddery was guilty of improper riding. They took the view that he had shown inattention in that he made no attempt to change his whip hand.'

The stewards also investigated Eddery's whip action in the final two furlongs. They found that he had hit Kings Cay down the shoulder with his whip in the forehand position and cautioned him as to his future use of the whip.

The suspension, which covers 2,000 Guineas day, Saturday, 30 April, and Monday, 2 May, marred a spectacular week for the champion. Kings Cay would have been his seventh success from just eight rides in Britain since Monday.

His total this morning stands at 20, compared to 66 for Dettori, who built up his huge lead with wins at all- weather tracks prior to the champion joining the title race at the start of the turf season.

Their intense rivalry mirrors the jump jockeys' title race between champion Richard Dunwoody, currently trailing young challenger Adrian Maguire by 13. Both Dunwoody and Maguire have seen their championship prospects dented by bans this season.

A jump jockey who was never champion, yet indisputably tough and powerful, announced his retirement from race riding after winning on Capital Punishment at Perth yesterday. It was Chris Grant's 788th victory.

Although many big races fell to 'Rambo' during a distinguished 20-year career, the Grand National is cruelly absent from the list. Grant rode the runner-up at Aintree no less than three times, twice on Durham Edition and once on Young Driver.

Grant, 37, has no immediate plans for his future but confirmed he wanted to remain involved in racing.

Denys Smith, the trainer who first employed Grant as a 15-year-old school-leaver, said yesterday: 'Chris is a first class man. You only have to look how many times he's been in front of the stewards - you could count them on the fingers of one hand.'