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Russell hit with a four-day ban after review for punching horse


By Thomas Kelly

An appeals body review of the punishment handed out to Davy Russell for punching Kings Dolly on the neck at Tramore last month has resulted in a four-day suspension for the former champion jockey.

Following an investigation, Russell was originally given a caution, with no further action to be taken, from the referrals committee after appearing to strike his mount before a race on August 18.

However, after an internal review the Turf Club said the registrar of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee had asked the appeals body to look at the findings of the referrals committee "on the grounds that it was unduly lenient".

Russell, twice champion in Ireland and winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2014 on Lord Windermere, had argued he wanted the horse to concentrate and that it was inappropriate to use the whip under the circumstances.

But the rider's actions were heavily criticised in many quarters and television footage created a stir on social media.

In giving out the new punishment, Joseph Finnegan, chairman of the appeals body and a retired Supreme Court judge, said: "A five-day suspension seems an appropriate penalty.

"However, we consider Mr Russell's previous record, which is a good one with regard to the welfare of animals, and we also take into account the delay in finalising the case which has caused a great deal of stress to Mr Russell and his family."

"We will reduce the suspension by one day."

The suspension will not begin until September 19.

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