Leeâ€™s fall yesterday at Huntingdon resulted in a broken collarbone, and so he will miss the ride on Divers in tomorrow's Spinal Research The Atlantic 4 Gold Cup at Cheltenham. The two have formed a successful partnership, with Lee riding Divers in all but three of his races over the past three years, including four wins. Keith Mercer picks up the ride tomorrow, having been on board for Diversâ€™ for his seasonal reappearance at Carlisle in October.
Happiest of the three jockeys is Harry Derham who was delighted to find out yesterday that he will again ride Brampour in tomorrow's Â£130,000 Stan James.com International hurdle. It had widely been expected that Ruby Walsh would take over, as the race value means Derham will not be able to claim his 7lb riding allowance. Brampourâ€™s trainer, Paul Nicholls, who is also Derham's uncle, had suggested the teenager might lead up the horse at Cheltenham, but in the end left the decision to the horseâ€™s owners.
One of them, Aaron Banks, said, "We have won two races with him and he's done nothing wrong in either race. We couldn't see a reason to change. He's ridden the horse perfectly in two big races. We knew he couldn't claim 7lb but that wasn't a consideration. We just thought he has ridden Brampour brilliantly on each occasion, he rides the horse out at the yard and we think he goes well with him. It was a difficult decision because the obvious thing to do would be to go with Ruby and this is no reflection on him."
There was huge disappointment for Will Kennedy who learned that he had been jocked off Time For Rupert when he lines up in the Betfair Graduation Chase at Newbury next Wednesday. This brings to an end not just a horse and jockey partnership, one that has been victorious in seven of 16 races, but also the relationship between Kennedy and trainer Paul Webber.
Webber has been using Denis Oâ€™Regan and Dominic Elsworth for most of his runners this season, and its Oâ€™Regan who will get the leg up next week. Webber didn't want to go into detail about why he has dropped Kennedy, just saying that both he and the owners thought a change of jockey was right for the horse.
Kennedy said, "I was told last Monday I wouldn't be riding the horse again and Iâ€™m just gutted. I don't think I've done anything wrong on the horse, but he hasn't had the opportunity to show himself at his best this season. I love Time for Rupert and I'm really gutted to have lost the ride on him, but I'll now have to start again and try to find another good horse."