Two-week ban for Williamson

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The Independent Online
The contest for the National Hunt jockeys' championship was effectively brought to a close yesterday when the Jockey Club's disciplinary committee awarded Norman Williamson a 14-day suspension for causing intentional interference at Uttoxeter on 6 May.

Although the season finishes on 3 June, Richard Dunwoody's, current lead of 20 over Williamson is now rendered unassailable. Dunwoody, on 148 for the season, and Williamson, on 128, are split by Adrian Maguire on 130, but he remains out of action with a broken arm.

Williamson was deemed to have caused intentional interference on River Tarquin, disqualified after finishing second to Strath Royal in a handicap Chase. The Uttoxeter stewards referred Williamson to Portman Square as it was the jockey's second offence for interference this season.

Williamson will not contest the ban, which will bring a remarkable season - in which his winners included Master Oats in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Alderbrook in the Champion Hurdle - to a premature close this Friday. His suspension not only affects the rest of this season but the first day of "summer jumping" at Perth.

Also appearing at Portman Square was the conditonal jockey Gary Cahill. He was given a 14-day ban for his fourth whip offence of the season and admitted that he had used his whip with unreasonable force, frequency and with his arm above shoulder height on German Legend at Hexham on 6 May .

n Celtic Swing has taken the 2,000 Guineas "very well" , his trainer, Lady Herries, said yesterday. His owner, Peter Savill, has until 1 June to decide whether to supplement the colt for the French Derby or commit him to Epsom, where the ground must not be too firm. Lady Herries said: "We're not asking for soft ground, just that there is no jar, which there was at Newmarket. If it's good ground, hopefully, Celtic Swing will go to Epsom. We want what is best for the horse because he stays in training next year."