Racing : Dunwoody gets another kicking

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The Independent Online
Richard Dunwoody, and his fractured sternum, emerged from Ashford Hospital yesterday and continued to complain about the treatment he received following a fall at Kempton on Saturday. Elsewhere there seemed to be a suggestion that a part of his anatomy other than the breastbone should have been checked over.

With due deference to Vinnie Jones's goal celebrations at Highbury on Sunday, it was Dunwoody who struck the pose of the weekend after being deposited on the Sunbury terra firma by See More Business. As he froze in a fundamentalist crouch, the jockey refused treatment on three occasions. The press release had it that the Ulsterman told paramedic crews to "go away", and if that was indeed the message, it may have been conveyed in slightly more salty language. "I apologise if in my injured state I caused offence, but I was unhappy with my initial treatment," the invalid said yesterday.

It remains the contention of Dunwoody, who is almost certain to recover in time for the Cheltenham Festival, that he was moved brusquely by his first attendant on Saturday. Peter McNeile, Sunbury's clerk of the course, denies that and appears to believe more than the rider's breastbone was in contact with the turf. "Obviously he [Dunwoody] was hurt and in pain and probably not quite all there," McNeile said. "If you've had the stuffing knocked out of you, you don't feel too good. But there was no way the [first] guy tried to move him. There was no reason to, because it wasn't as if we had to clear the course for the next circuit. He might have put his hand on his shoulder but that was as far as it went."

Adrian Maguire seems to have been frustrated by Dunwoody ever since, three years ago, he rode 194 winners but still did not collect the jockeys' championship. The Irishman rode five winners on Saturday (four of them trained by David Nicholson) but still could not get ahead of his old foe on the newsprint. "It's a shame that a great day at Kempton has been marred by this, because if Richard didn't have a vintage day then there were others who did," McNeile added. "It's stolen our thunder and I don't think it was justified.

"If I was Adrian Maguire I'd be feeling pretty hacked off. You ride five winners and that man Dunwoody still manages to keep you off the front page. That must be exasperating."

It was rather like Rorke's Drift for Dunwoody yesterday. Michael Caulfield, the Jockeys' Association secretary who could have been expected to support him, was abroad on leave, while David Pipe, of the Jockey Club, and United Racecourses' managing director, Sue Ellen, massed behind McNeile in averring that Saturday's procedures were correct. There will be no Jockey Club inquiry into the incident, no semblance either of self-blame from the course's owners.

"Contrary to some reports, Richard Dunwoody was not attended by an employee of the racecourse but by an experienced paramedic who is trained and qualified to deal with such incidents," Sue Ellen said. "The paramedic was in attendance within seconds of the fall and Richard Dunwoody three times declined treatment."

McNeile too emphasised the speed of the reaction. "The ambulance followed 70 yards behind and they were with him within 20 seconds, so he hardly had time to spit the mud out of his teeth," the clerk of the course said. "I am surprised and rather disappointed with what Richard has said."

A contributory factor to McNeile's dismay could have been that it was he who donned the chauffeur's hat to drive Dunwoody's Saab over to Ashford Hospital. Those that believe kindness is always rewarded will be pleased to learn that he then got a lift home from a member of Dunwoody's management team in a Rolls Royce.

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