Jockey Martin Dwyer is looking to put a distressing year behind him today when he will ask a disciplinary hearing at the British Horseracing Authority for the 56-day ban imposed on him in India not to be applied in this country.
Dwyer received the suspension from the Royal Western India Turf Club in February after riding a beaten favourite at Mahalaxmi racecourse in Mumbai, prompting an angry reaction from racegoers. A head-on video of the race showed his mount Ice Age appearing to drift towards the rail in the closing stages, bumping the eventual runner-up and causing Dwyer to snatch up his mount.
The ban was dramatically increased to eight months on appeal, but subsequently returned to its original length following further representations.
Last year the champion jockey Richard Hughes served a 50-day ban incurred while riding in India after the BHA upheld the punishment, under protocols reciprocating disciplinary measures across different jurisdictions. But Dwyer believes his case may be treated differently.
"I've got to be hopeful because, in my mind, I know I haven't done anything wrong but I'm certain of one thing, and that's that when I go to the BHA I'm sure I'll get a fair hearing," he said. "I never got anything like a fair hearing in India and, with all the evidence on the table, I've got to be hopeful. We'll just see what happens, but I'm just going to be glad to see the back of the whole thing once and for all. I've got Graeme McPherson representing me and Paul Struthers [chief executive of the Professional Jockeys' Association] will be coming as part of the team."
In Saturday's Cesarewitch, Johnny Murtagh, who won the first leg of the Autumn Double on board Educate in the Cambridgeshire, has been booked to ride Oriental Fox for Mark Johnston.
Scottish trainer Jim Goldie aims to field up to five runners in the contest – Nanton and Los Nadis are guaranteed a place, while Merchant Of Dubai, Jonny Delta and Aleksandar need horses to drop out. "If they get in, they will all run," Goldie said. "Nanton ran a big race in it off top weight a few years ago, while the trip will suit Los Nadis. Merchant Of Dubai is capable of running a big race too."