Racing: Johnson's hard lesson

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The Independent Online
ADRIAN MAGUIRE will have a fortnight of opportunities to re-establish himself with the owners in David Nicholson's stable as Richard Johnson, his rival for rides from the yard, will spend 14 days on the banned list.

Johnson, the jumps season's second most successful jockey after Tony McCoy, was yesterday suspended from riding by the Jockey Club's Disciplinary Committee because he had already totted up 15 days of suspensions for whip offences in the last 12 months.

A further breach of the rules on Jathib in the Unicoin Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day meant he faced the Disciplinary Committee. Johnson also received a four-day suspended ban which will come into effect if he breaks the whip rules again in the next six months.

The total 18-day punishment is the same as the one handed out to McCoy in November, also for breaches of the whip guidelines. Like McCoy, he must attend a day at the British Racing School during his suspension to receive assistance regarding his use of the whip.

Johnson, whose ban runs from 12-27 January, said: "I want to ride as many winners as possible for my owners, trainers and the punters but you have got to draw a line somewhere, and I crossed it."

On his whip action Johnson remarked: "I have got to keep the frequency down and try to get horses running by pushing and shoving them more."

"Hopefully, I can keep my use of the whip down and I will never have to come back to the Jockey Club at Portman Square for this again. When I saw a video of the race on TV, I knew I had broken the rules but it is a lot easier to see that on TV than when you are riding a horse."

Lorcan Wyer also fell foul of the rules on use of the whip yesterday and received a four-day ban from the officials at Catterick. The local stewards took exception to his use of the whip as he teed up a double aboard Scotton Green in the Wakefield Novices' Chase.

Wyer struck the 10-11 chance a couple of times before the final fence and 13 times on the run-in as his mount denied Birkdale by a head.

The stewards found that the jockey had been guilty of excessive use and hit him with a four-day ban (16, 18 and 20January). The suspension means that Wyer will miss the ride on Cumbrian Challenge in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot.

At Market Rasen, Richard Dunwoody recorded a 48-1 treble on Devonshire, Springfield Scally and Always Wayward which took his score for the season to 73.

"My target is to beat Scu's (Peter Scudamore) record of 1,678 winners," Dunwoody said. "When I get to a century I will have passed it."

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