Racing: Maguire in a `mess'

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The Independent Online
IT MAY say on the gate that David Nicholson trains at Jackdaws Castle, but to Adrian Maguire, his stable jockey, they must look more like vultures. Maguire's position with Nicholson has been the subject of sustained speculation over the past few days, and the man who both owns the yard and employs Nicholson and Maguire admitted yesterday that rumours of the rider's dismissal or demotion were a "mess" that needed to be sorted out.

Colin Smith, whose company, Ford Farm Racing, is ultimately in charge at Nicholson's stable, said that "Adrian and myself will be having talks in the next few days, maybe this evening. But if Adrian jacks it in as stable jockey at the yard in the next few days over what's been happening - and I don't blame him if he does - there will be no retained jockey at the yard for the rest of this season and possibly next season as well."

Maguire's position at Jackdaws Castle is thought to be under threat from Richard Johnson, currently Nicholson's No.2 jockey. "If Adrian steps down there are still plenty of owners in the yard who will want him to ride their horses," Smith said. "Admittedly there are a few owners, such as Darren Mercer, who owns Escartefigue, and Roger Baines, who owns Zafarabad, who want Richard Johnson to ride for them. But that does not mean that Richard is the new No.1 jockey at Jackdaws Castle, or that he will be."

Speaking before setting out to ride Forest Ivory, who finished third in the Welsh National at Chepstow, Maguire commented, seemingly only half in jest - that he had been "rung by a journalist yesterday morning who told me I was out of a job, so he obviously knows more than I do".