Timmy Murphy landed himself on the ropes after he turned Jockey Balboa in the Newbury weighing room on Friday. His scrap with fellow jockey Dominic Elsworth resulted in Murphy heading off to hospital with a suspected (later confirmed) dislocated shoulder, and meant he was unable to ride in the Hennessy Gold Cup for a second year in a row.
The two jockeys are widely reported as having issues with each other, although how the tension between them started is not at all clear. The scrap came after Murphy finished fourth on Upsilon Bleu and Elsworth second on Easter Meteor in the handicap chase. I’ve watched the race a couple of times now, and whilst Elsworth did appear to cross in front of Murphy between the last two fences, it was not in any way an incident to provoke an altercation.
One eyewitness in the weighing room said, “It’s well-known that the two jockeys aren’t exactly best mates, and before you knew it they were rolling around on the floor. A few words were exchanged at the end of the race, but it was once the two were back in the changing room that tempers really frayed.”
Murphy’s wife said that the jockey was having problems with his shoulder immediately after the race, and his mount did veer left handed before jumping the last. But if that’s where he sustained the injury, what on earth was he doing getting into a scrap?
The Newbury stewards found nothing to report, but the British Horseracing Authority is looking into the matter and has called both jockeys to a meeting at Wincanton on Thursday to explain what happened. They have already spoken to Professional Jockeys’ Association boss Paul Struthers and valet Chris Maude. Meanwhile, the two are reported to have spoken on the phone and settled their disagreement.
Murphy’s agent Chris Broad said yesterday, “I spoke to Timmy this morning. He said he didn’t know when he’d be riding again and that he was going to a specialist.” He had some harsh words for bookmaker Paddy Power, who had offered £10,000 to the Injured Jockeys’ Fund if the two met in the boxing ring. Broad said, “I can’t believe they are putting up money for a fight. I’ve never heard of anything more pathetic.”