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Ulster’s Lavery is optimistic of overturning his 10-day ban

 

On Sunday, Hobbs stated that he was happy with the jockey and that the horse was well post-race and, having eaten that night, was in good form the following morning (stock photo)
On Sunday, Hobbs stated that he was happy with the jockey and that the horse was well post-race and, having eaten that night, was in good form the following morning (stock photo)

By Ron McKnight

Downpatrick rider Declan Lavery, who picked up a 10-day ban when finishing third on Jerry's Back in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last week, will have his appeal heard at the BHA headquarters in London on Thursday.

Lavery, punished for continuing "when it appeared contrary to the horse's welfare", has the support of the horse's owner JP McManus, trainer Philip Hobbs and racing manager AP McCoy.

On Sunday, Hobbs stated that he was happy with the jockey and that the horse was well post-race and, having eaten that night, was in good form the following morning.

Lavery, who is hopeful of getting the ban overturned, said: "I didn't abuse him, I didn't hit him in the closing stages - he jumped the last pretty well.

"Ten days is a very long time and I don't think it's fair. I've been riding long enough to know that if Jerry's Back wasn't going to get over the last I wouldn't have jumped it.

"I've ridden about 80 winners and around Cheltenham as a professional for Willie Mullins. It's not like this was my first ride around Cheltenham."

Meanwhile, Ulster-born amateur rider David Maxwell added two more winners to his tally in his attempt to claim the amateur riders' title this season.

Maxwell won on Road To Riches - a former winner of the Ulster Champion Chase at the Down Royal Festival and now trained at Derrylin by David Christie - on Sunday at Carlisle before scoring on recent acquisition Dolphin Square, trained by Hobbs, at Exeter yesterday, bringing his total for the season to 11.

And Scoir Mear delivered the big-race victory he has long promised in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Handicap Chase Final at Navan.

The McManus-owned grey was a high-class performer over hurdles a couple of years ago for trainer Tom Mullins - most notably finishing fifth behind Supasundae in the Coral Cup at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.

The story of his chasing career thus far has been one of frustration, but he came good in yesterday's €65,000 contest under Jody McGarvey.

After several fallers, the race came down to a battle between 25/1 shot Scoir Mear and 11/2 joint-favourite Young Paddymc, and it was the former who kicked clear to score by three and a half lengths.

Mullins said afterwards: "He travelled sweetly all the way, and I'm just delighted that he's back to form."

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