Racing: Broken leg for Thornton

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ANDREW THORNTON, who has had the best season of his career including winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Cool Dawn, ended the campaign on a low note yesterday when he broke his left leg just above the ankle in a fall at Fontwell.

The accident came when Winspit, who like Cool Dawn was trained by Robert Alner, crashed at the seventh fence in the handicap chase won by Sounds Like Fun. The gelding was badly injured in the tumble and had to be destroyed.

It was also a bad day for Richard Dunwoody, who was concussed and stood down for 48 hours after being unseated from Bay Lough in the chase, won by Thornton and Alner with Gillan Cove.

Tony McCoy started his 24th birthday with six fancied rides, but had to wait until the last two events to celebrate with victories on Sounds Like Fun and Latchford.

At Newcastle, Jason Weaver was on the receiving end of a five-day ban from the stewards. Weaver's mount Piped Aboard, who had finished second to Celestial Welcome, was adjudged to have interfered with the winner four and a half furlongs from home.

Weaver's suspension, for irresponsible riding, will run from 13 to 17 May and will rule the rider out of the final two days of York's May meeting and the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

At Doncaster, the apprentice Dean Mernagh incurred a one-day ban (13 May) for careless riding aboard Chinaberry, unplaced in the claiming stakes.

The British Horseracing Board's Flat handicapper, Dominic Gardiner-Hill, yesterday issued his ratings for the 2,000 Guineas performers and gave only a quite modest mark of 122 to King Of Kings.

"All I can do is reflect the performance on the day," Gardiner-Hill said. "My gut feeling is that when the International Classifications come round in December, with a whole season behind us, he may well be higher. Mark Of Esteem was rated 124 on his Guineas victory but by the end of the season achieved 133 which stamped him as an outstanding miler. But only eight lengths covered the first 10 horses home on Saturday."