Racing: Ffrench banned for riding 'non-trier'

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The Independent Online
THE jockey Royston Ffrench was handed a seven-day ban under the "non-triers"' rule at Wolverhampton yesterday.

Ffrench, last season's champion apprentice, was found guilty of tenderly riding Lady Jazz, who finished fourth, beaten 111/2 lengths, in the first division of the Capricorn Maiden Stakes behind the winner, Shaanxi Romance.

The trainer, Joe Naughton, who was not at the track, was handed a pounds 1,400 fine while Lady Jazz was suspended from running again for 30 days.

Ffrench's ban, which takes in 14, 17, 19-21, 23 and 26 March, means the rider will miss the opening day of Doncaster's curtain-raising turf meeting later this month, but he will be available for the Lincoln Handicap.

Naughton, who watched the race on television at his Epsom base, was incensed at the decision. "I was just minding my own business watching the racing and they announce Royston has got seven days, my filly is banned for 30 days and I've been fined 1400 quid," he said. "I ran her only seven days ago and she was as fit as a flea today. Royston gave her four or five backhanders - she couldn't have done any better. I will definitely be appealing."

Ffrench was more philosophical, saying: "The stewards have come to a conclusion and you have to take the penalty. I'll have to have a talk with Mr Naughton and my guv'nor, Mr Cumani, and see what they say concerning an appeal."

Geoff Foster, the stewards' secretary, defended the ban. "We had people ringing up the course concerned about the horse's running, but by then the stewards were on the case and already inquiring. They asked themselves whether the horse was put in the race and asked for an effort at any stage and they found that the answer was no on both counts," he said.

Lady Jazz was settled in rear by Ffrench in the early stages until making steady headway in the straight and running on well in the closing stages.