Timmy Murphy has taken responsibility for the fight between himself and Dominic Elsworth that took place at Newbury a week ago. His misdemeanour earned him a nine-day ban at a British Horseracing authority disciplinary hearing at Wincanton yesterday.
The incident occurred after a race in which Murphy finished fourth and Elsworth second and led to Murphy going to hospital with a dislocated shoulder. That has ruled him out of riding since, and there’s no sign of a date when he might be fit enough to resume.
After interviewing both jockeys, Paul Struthers from the Professional Jockeys’ Association and valet Chris Maude the BHA stewards found Elsworth blameless. A statement from them said, “The stewards found that Murphy was the instigator and main protagonist in two altercations.”
Stipendiary steward Paul Barton went on to explain how Murphy suffered his injury. He said, “on the Friday evening we knew Timmy Murphy had to go to hospital but we didn’t know why, although overnight it clearly became obvious something had happened. Timmy Murphy has confirmed there were two incidents in the changing room, both of which were instigated by him. He admitted instigating them and apologised to Dominic Elsworth. The second incident happened probably not long after the first one, and Timmy Murphy’s shoulder was injured when he was restrained by the valet.”
The dates of his suspension fall either side of the Christmas break, and won’t be altered even if he hasn’t returned to the saddle by then. I think that’s a sensible course of action. If the BHA imposed nine days starting today, when Murphy is clearly still unfit, they could be accused of giving him an irrelevant suspension, as he is clearly not going to ride in the next week or so in any case.