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Ulster jockey ruled out for two months

By Frank Brownlow

Ulster jockey Martin Harley has been ruled out for two months after fracturing a vertebrae in his neck and four ribs in the crashing fall from Red Art at Lingfield in which the horse died.

However Harley, one of the sport's rising stars, will not require an operation on his neck but will wear a collar for six weeks.

The 24-year-old was thrown to the ground when Red Art clipped the heels of horses in front of him in the Ladbrokes Mobile Handicap on Wednesday.

Harley was taken to East Surrey Hospital in nearby Redhill before being transferred to St George's Hospital in Tooting for further treatment.

The Letterkenny jockey was the fifth high-profile rider to be taken to hospital in 10 days after four top jump jockeys were injured last week.

Ruby Walsh, Bryan Cooper and Daryl Jacob are all sidelined with broken bones after being injured at the Cheltenham Festival, while Jason Maguire is recovering after coming out of an induced coma following a fall at Stratford.

Harley is stable jockey to Newmarket trainer Marco Botti, who said: "All in all, in a way, he was lucky because it was an horrible fall. It could have been much worse."

Meanwhile, Ulster great Tony McCoy moved to 201 winners for the season with victory on board Fabrika at Ludlow yesterday.

McCoy's fellow Ulster jump jockey Brian Hughes has landed the ride on Vintage Star in next month's first ever £1million Aintree Grand National.

Vintage Star is owned by two-time National winner Trevor Hemmings and trained by Sue Smith, who is going for back-to-back victories in the big race after Auroras Encore's win last year.

Hughes, who won the Fred Winter Hurdle at last week's Cheltenham Festival on Hawk High, said: "I am delighted to have picked up a ride like Vintage Star."

* TRAINER Philip Fenton will have to wait at least another few weeks to defend himself against charges of possession of steroids.

The 49-year-old sat by himself at the back of Carrick-on-Suir district court in Co Tipperary yesterday as lawyers pleaded for more time to deal with submissions.

Judge Terence Finn put the hearing back for mention at the same courthouse on May 15.

Fenton, of Garryduff, South Lodge, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, is facing eight charges over treatments and medicines found by state inspectors at his yard.

The case against Fenton was brought about by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine following an inspection on January 18, 2012.

The eight charges include alleged possession of Nitrotain and Ilium Stanabolic and prescription medicines including Engemycin 10%, Neomycin Penicillin and Marbocyl 10%.

If a trial goes ahead on the charges, between 12 and 15 witnesses are expected to be called. No plea has been entered.

Fenton's runners at Cheltenham last week, Last Instalment, Dunguib and Value At Risk, were tested by the British Horseracing Authority before being cleared to run.

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