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Robert Havlin banned for 21 days by Lingfield stewards

Robert Havlin has been banned for 21 days by the Lingfield stewards after finishing second aboard Stowell at the track on Wednesday evening.

Havlin rode John and Thady Gosden’s second string in the Sky Sports Racing HD Virgin 535 Novice Stakes, with Stowell going off a 16-1 chance while stablemate Polling Day, the mount of Frankie Dettori, was the 2-9 favourite.

The market leader was in front at the turn for home in the 12-furlong contest, with Stowell in fourth and meeting a few traffic problems in behind.

Polling Day looked likely to win by a comfortable margin as he forged on for Dettori at the furlong pole, however, Stowell made up plenty of ground in the closing stages and was eventually beaten a head.

The stewards inquired into the performance as they felt Stowell had been given “an apparently tender hands and heels ride” round the bend and in the straight.

Havlin stated he was told “to settle the colt and ride him to obtain his best possible position”, adding Stowell “was a fragile type who had a high knee action, and that John Gosden had instructed him to ride the colt hands and heels and not to use his whip”.

The rider, who also told the stewards the pace of the race did not suit at halfway and he had to switch his mount to get a run, felt the winner had idled in front and “therefore it appeared that Stowell had finished faster than he actually had”.

The trainers’ representative stated they were satisfied with the ride and pleased with Stowell’s debut effort, but the stewards decided Havlin had not taken all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure Stowell obtained his best possible placing.

Havlin was given a 21-day ban, which rules him out May 5-8 and 10-26 inclusive.

Khuzaam claims impressive Mile verdict

Khuzaam blitzed the field with an impressive performance to win the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Hitting the front on the turn for home, Khuzaam (6-4 favourite) quickly put daylight between himself and his rivals with a devastating turn of foot.

Jack Mitchell sat on the heels of the pace-making Canagat in the early stages before making his move.

The response from the Roger Varian-trained five-year-old was immediate and he romped away to score by five lengths from Mums Tipple. Bless Him stayed on for third place, another length away.

Mitchell said: “That was nice and smooth. His work has improved a lot since he won at Chelmsford and the gelding operation has obviously helped him.

“I think he has a lot of class – and he has miles left on the clock, so we will see where he can go.

“It could not have gone any better.

“Roger and I spoke this morning – Khuzaam is a big horse and not one you’d want to drag back, and the race being here at Lingfield meant that we wanted to utilise that, really, even though we were going up a furlong.

“Once I asked him to change gear, he put the race to bed very quickly. I think there is improvement in him.

“Thank you to Shadwell and to Roger for sticking with me. It is very nice to have a winner in these colours.”

Bangkok bags Easter Classic honours

Bangkok asserted in the closing stages to land the odds in the Betway Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championships at Lingfield.

Andrew Balding’s five-year-old showed he had recovered from his trip to Riyadh for the world’s richest race, the Saudi Cup, six weeks ago to justify his short price.

Bangkok (5-6 favourite) had to work hard, but he was a willing partner for Silvestre de Sousa.

Bangkok following his Easter Classic victory
Bangkok following his Easter Classic victory (Neil Morrice/PA)

Making his move just before the home turn, De Sousa closed the door on his main market rival, Forest Of Dean. That have him a crucial edge, but Bangkok still had to catch Palavecino.

His touch of class and stamina enabled Bangkok to get the verdict by a neck from the 8-1 shot.

It was an All-Weather Championships double for Balding, who won the Marathon with Ranch Hand, and an across-the-card treble after the victory of Napper Tandy at Newcastle.

Bangkok (left) proved too good for Palavecino
Bangkok (left) proved too good for Palavecino (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Balding said: “I thought Silvestre gave him a masterful ride in keeping Forest Of Dean in at the right time.

“He’s a very tough horse that has travelled all over the place in recent months, and it’s great that he can bring his A-game to the table today.

“He hasn’t quite hit the heights we thought he might after he won the Classic Trial at Sandown, but he settles so well that I think he might get a mile and a half now.

“Silvestre said we should drop him back to a mile, but the most likely race for him is the Huxley Stakes at Chester, as long as the ground is all right.

“Bangkok only has a Listed penalty, so he is eligible for lots of races including Group Threes without a penalty, so we will have a lot of fun trying to pick races which he can be competitive in.”

Summerghand pips Exalted Angel in Sprint thriller

Summerghand got up in the dying strides to snatch the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Wearing a visor for the first time, Summerghand pegged back Exalted Angel on the line in the hands of Adam Kirby in a driving finish to the six-furlong heat.

Aberama Gold got a flier from his rail draw and took the field along with Tone The Barone, Exalted Angel and Highland Dress all handy.

The field spread wide on the turn for home with the race very much up for grabs.

Summerghand (6-1), trained by David O’Meara, got into top gear in the final furlong though, edging out Exalted Angel by a head to land his first success since the Stewards’ Cup last summer.

The seven-year-old was making a swift reappearance having contested the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster last Saturday.

Kirby said: “He’s a horse with a lot of ability and a good bit of class.

“Unfortunately, last time at Doncaster he didn’t get the rub and at Wolverhampton before that gave the winner a lot of weight. He was due to win.

“I was content in my position following Brian The Snail. I decided to pull out and luckily a horse stopped at just the right time when I was about to start my run.

“I therefore didn’t lose too much ground and it worked out well. I think the visor put a bit of an edge on Summerghand.

“Full credit to David O’Meara and his team. Hopefully, we continue to have a bit of luck together.

“It’s great to have a winner on Finals Day.”

Ranch Hand swoops to claim Marathon title at Lingfield

Ranch Hand showed a neat turn of foot in the straight to land the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

James Doyle produced Andrew Balding’s five-year-old with a well-timed run to lead just over a furlong out.

Ranch Hand quickly put the race to bed and he galloped on strongly to hold the late challenge of Rock Eagle by a length and a half, with Lucky Deal third.

There was a strong pace early on with Australis, Ranch Hand and Amtiyaz to the fore, but the tempo slackened before the field passed the winning post for the first time.

Martin Harley was the first to make his move, sending Rainbow Dreamer on four furlongs out, but the 3-1 favourite could not hold on as his rivals hunted him down in the straight. He eventually finished fourth – and Harley later received a four-day suspension for careless riding, covering April 16, 17, 19 and 20.

Balding said: “I thought James always had him in the right position but that he might get caught flat-footed off the very slow pace, but he’s a classy horse and got out of trouble.

“He’s now four from four on the all-weather – and while I was worried whether he would act round Lingfield, I shouldn’t have been.

“This was very much Plan B, because we ran out of jumping options, and I think we’ll stick to the Flat now. The most likely target is the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.”

Doyle added: “It was a messy race that lacked pace, making it very frustrating because I jumped soundly, but Hollie (Doyle, on Amtiyaz) took my position.

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“The good thing was that when the race opened up he was fine. His run in a Listed race at Newmarket was pretty solid, and I knew he had the form coming into this.”

Pholas mowed down the opposition in the closing stages to cause a 25-1 upset for Hollie Doyle in the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes.

George Boughey’s four-year-old came from last to first thanks to a devastating turn of foot in the hands of his record-breaking jockey.

Five-time course winner Fizzy Feet made the running from Arafi and Nirodha, but the pace was only steady – and all six were in with a chance as they turned for home.

It was Pholas, running for the ninth time this year already, who held all the answers – charging late to get home by a neck from Shimmering Dawn, with Arafi third.

Hollie Doyle sprang a 25-1 surprise on Pholas
Hollie Doyle sprang a 25-1 surprise on Pholas (Mike Egerton/PA)

The disappointing horse in the race was the 4-5 favourite, Indie Angel, who could not get in a blow.

Doyle said: “I thought she was a well-handicapped horse, but that it was a big ask for her in a conditions race.

“To win she needed to do things smoothly and get into a rhythm, with a pace to aim at. She hit a flat spot two out, but picked up really well.”

Diligent Harry looked a smart sprinter in the making when storming to victory in the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes.

Diligent Harry (green/red) impressed at Lingfield
Diligent Harry (green/red) impressed at Lingfield (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The Clive Cox-trained colt came with a pulsating run to wear down Mighty Gurkha in the final furlong and win in cosy fashion.

Adam Kirby, who was on a high after taking the Sprint Championships on Summerghand, had Diligent Harry in a good position just off the pace.

Bravado led in the early stages, but Hollie Doyle soon took it up on Mighty Gurkha after getting across to the rail from a wide draw.

Mighty Gurkha led into the straight, but Diligent Harry (2-1 favourite) had him in his sights and kicked away to score by two lengths. Mighty Gurkha held Zamaani by a nose for second spot.

Diligent Harry was cut to 16-1 from 25-1 for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot with Betfair and Paddy Power.

Cox said: “I’m over the moon, because having not run since January it was a big ask. He was beaten here last time, but on the positive side he gained knowledge of the track, and he’s shown today that when it all goes right it’s fabulous.

“He’s as exciting as a few of the good sprinters we’ve had, but as he’s done a lot in a short time, I shall give him a recharge now.”

Kirby said: “On his previous run here we got bumped out on the turn. It’s been a learning curve for the horse and a lot has happened in three and a half months.

“He’s still a bit babyish, but has taken a step forward. It’s a long way to Ascot, but I’m looking forward to the future.”

The closing Bombardier All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap went to Lord Of The Lodge (5-1 joint-favourite) for trainer Karl Burke and jockey Pierre-Louis Jamin.

Diligent Harry hunting All-Weather Championships crown

Diligent Harry bids to make amends for a narrow defeat over the course and distance when he returns to Lingfield for the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes on Friday.

A slow start put the Clive Cox-trained colt on the back foot and the race did not go to plan after that. Despite finishing strongly, Diligent Harry could not quite peg back Rohaan and was beaten a short head.

He had been up with the pace when winning his only two previous starts at Wolverhampton and Kempton. The latter race was over the minimum trip, but Cox believes six furlongs is his optimum at present.

“He’s got a lot of potential and he’s still very much learning his job, but because of that he’s entitled to find more progress, I think,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“He’s very quick, we did drop him back to five furlongs for his second outing, but that was more because the opportunity arose than being a necessity.

“I think six furlongs is where we want to be with him at the moment.”

Victory Heights staked his claim with victory at Wolverhampton when four of these rivals – Mighty Gurkha, Yazaman, Zamaani and Bakersboy – finished directly behind him in second to fifth places respectively.

Trainer James Tate is hoping the son of Siyouni can overcome a wide draw.

Victory Heights has a wide draw to overcome
Victory Heights has a wide draw to overcome (Tony Knapton/PA)

“We love Victory Heights, he’s as game as a pebble. I thought he was really tough and put in a good performance when he beat some of these horses at Wolverhampton back in December,” said the Newmarket handler.

“This has been the plan ever since. It looks like a very competitive, tight little contest and we haven’t go the best of draws (in stall 10). I’m sure him and Luke Morris will be giving it their best shot anyway.”

William Haggas reports Yazaman to be in fine form.

“Yazaman is in good shape and will have the blinkers back on for this,” said the Newmarket handler.

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“He was drawn widest of all last time and we took the view that we would drop him out. He ran OK, but never really got into the race.”

Ranch Hand would prefer a decent gallop in the Marathon
Ranch Hand would prefer a decent gallop in the Marathon (Richard Sellers/PA)

Andrew Balding is praying there is a strong gallop for Ranch Hand in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes.

“He wouldn’t want it to be a tactical race with an injection of speed off the final bend,” Balding told Sky Sports Racing.

“James Doyle is riding him and he’ll be given a free rein to ride him as he sees fit. I’m sure he’ll get it right.”

Just seven runners will line-up for this two-mile test with Alan King’s Rainbow Dreamer and Amityaz from the in-form team of John and Thady Gosden among the leading fancies.

Tim Easterby feels Lampang will be adaptable whatever the pace in the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes.

“He’s a very straight forward horse. He can go up there or drop in. It doesn’t matter. It depends how the race goes,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“You’ve got to have a jockey who rides the track well. That’s the main thing at Lingfield. Silvestre (de Sousa) rides it well, so things should be good.

“It’s a pretty competitive race. You can give a lot of horses a chance.”

Ado McGuinness’s Irish raider Harry’s Bar will have plenty of supporters, while others with chances in the 12-strong field include Summerghand, Highland Dress, Venturous and Lord Riddiford.

Richard Hannon has no qualms about putting Mums Tipple back up in trip for the the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes.

The gelding flopped when tried over a mile in the 2000 Guineas last season, but he did not show his best form at all in 2020. However, he bounced back with victory over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton recently.

“Mums Tipple is in great form. I was very pleased with his last run – it was a smart performance – and he looks like he is going the right way,” said Hannon.

“Finals Day will be the first time he has run over a mile since the Guineas. I am hoping it won’t be an issue as he got the seven furlongs really well at Wolverhampton.”

Of the opposition, Silver Quartz represents French trainer Francis Graffard after scoring at Chantilly four weeks ago, with compatriot Canagat joining him on the trip.

Among others in the mix are Roger Varian’s Khuzaam and Documenting from Kevin Frost’s stable.

Tate feels Shimmering Dawn’s track record will stand her in good stead for the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes.

The mare won over this seven furlongs in December to give the Newmarket trainer hope of a bold show.

“Shimmering Dawn has been a great servant to us over the winter, she loves the all-weather and she’s a course-and-distance winner,” he said.

“It looks like we’ve got (John and Thady) Gosden’s to beat (Indie Angel) and David Loughnane’s (Fizzy Feet) as well, although maybe that one wants a little bit less of a trip.

“She’s pretty tactically able to do whatever, it’s a small field and we’ve got a good jockey on board.

“We’ll give it a good go, there’s plenty of money on offer.”

Fizzy Feet  (right) represents Dave Lowe
Fizzy Feet (right) represents Dave Lowe (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Fizzy Feet’s owner Dave Lowe thinks his runner has every chance of seeing out the longer trip.

He said: “David (Loughnane) is pretty confident that Fizzy Feet will stay seven furlongs.

“He doesn’t feel she has been stopping in her races and, if you are going to get seven furlongs anywhere, it will be Lingfield.

“Indie Angel is the horse to beat, but I am confident of a big run from Fizzy Feet as I think she could get an easy lead.

“If she can steal a march on the field, hopefully they will find it difficult to peg her back.”

Balding anticipating bold show from Bangkok in Easter Classic

Bangkok and Forest Of Dean lock horns in what promises to be an intriguing battle for the Betway Easter Classic at Lingfield on Friday.

The Andrew Balding-trained Bangkok sets the standard on ratings, having won the Winter Derby Trial over the course and distance in each of the past two seasons.

He was last seen picking up considerable prize-money for finishing eighth in the Saudi Cup in Riyadh in February, while last summer he was not beaten all that far in either the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

With his charge returning to the course and distance over which he excels for the £100,000 feature on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Balding is in confident mood.

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“He’s been a bit unlucky this year,” the trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“He was just nodded in a strong Listed race here (in December), having met a bit of trouble in running, then he was just chinned at Wolverhampton in a conditions race as well. I don’t think he did anything wrong.

“He’s pretty straight forward nowadays and I’d hope if he brings his best form to the race, he’s the one to beat.

“He’s had two wins, a second and a third over the course and distance. The one time he was a little bit disappointing was in last year’s Winter Derby, which was a falsely run race.

“I’d like to think Silvestre (de Sousa, jockey) would have the confidence that if the pace wasn’t strong enough for him (on Friday), he’d be versatile enough now to go forward.

“The course and distance seems to bring out the best in him.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Forest Of Dean was three-quarters of a length behind Bangkok when third in February’s Winter Derby, since when he has reversed form with the runner-up Felix to land the Winter Derby itself.

Assimilation in winning action at Lingfield
Assimilation in winning action at Lingfield (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The small but select field is completed by four other course-and-distance winners in Assimilation (Ed Walker), Byford (Ivan Furtado), Palavecino (Brian Meehan) and Sky Defender (Mark Johnston).

Walker said: “Assimilation is in cracking form. Whatever he lacks in ability, he makes up for in heart and determination.

“Six months ago, if you said to me that he would have a chance on Finals Day, I would have laughed at you. He just continues to surprise us with his progress through the ranks.

“He seems to be thriving and Luke Morris knows him inside out. He probably won’t be good enough, but who knows?”

Five take on Bangkok in Easter Classic

Bangkok will face five rivals in the Betway Easter Classic at Lingfield.

The £100,000 contest is the centrepiece of a seven-race card for All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Friday – and Bangkok is a hot favourite for trainer Andrew Balding.

The five-year-old was last seen finishing eighth in the Saudi Cup in Riyadh, having previously won the Winter Derby Trial for the second year in succession over this course and distance.

Bangkok’s biggest threat appears to be John and Thady Gosden’s Forest Of Dean, who won the Winter Derby itself on his latest appearance.

Assimilation (Ed Walker), Byford (Ivan Furtado), Palavecino (Brian Meehan) and Sky Defender (Mark Johnston) complete the sextet.

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Palavecino has run two good races over the course and distance this season, including when fourth behind Sangarius in the Quebec Stakes in mid-December – a race in which Bangkok was second.

Meehan said: “Palavecino had a break over Christmas as he’d had a busy enough time of it up until then.

“It just seemed a good moment to give him some time off and he has come back really well. We have had an eye on the Easter Classic the whole time and his preparation has gone very smoothly.

“He is fresh, he is improving, and I would see him in there with a very solid chance.”

The finals day card gets under way with the Betway All-Weather Marathon, for which seven runners will go to post.

Balding again has a leading contender in Ranch Hand – as does the Gosden team with Amtiyaz, the mount of Hollie Doyle.

It is Rainbow Dreamer from Alan King’s yard, however, that sets the standard on ratings.

Indie Angel, another Gosden inmate, is a warm order for the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships.

Her five opponents include Fizzy Feet, who is stepped up in distance by David Loughnane, and the James Tate-trained Shimmering Dawn.

Irish raider Harry’s Bar (Ado McGuinness) and last summer’s Stewards’ Cup hero Summerghand (David O’Meara) are two of 12 runners declared for a fiercely competitive renewal of the Betway All-Weather Sprint.

Diligent Harry (Clive Cox) and Mighty Gurkha (Archie Watson) are the market principals in a 10-strong Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships, while Khuzaam (Roger Varian) and Mums Tipple (Richard Hannon) are two of 10 runners in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile.

The Bombardier All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap brings the card to a close, with Karl Burke’s Lord Of The Lodge heading a field of 14 hopefuls.

Diligent Harry ‘still on upward curve’

Clive Cox believes there is plenty more to come from Diligent Harry as he prepares for the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Winner of his first two starts, Diligent Harry was a fast-finishing second last time out – and although he surrendered his unbeaten record, he lost little in defeat.

He is set to be in action against his contemporaries on Friday, and Cox said: “He’s progressive.

“After two easy maiden and novice starts, that was a step forward last time out even though he was second.

“I do think he’s still on an upward curve, and I certainly hope he is.”

Diligent Harry has displayed plenty of pace so far, and his Lambourn trainer added: “He’s got a lot of potential and scope there, and he’s still very much learning his job – but because of that, he’s entitled to find more progress, I think.

“He’s very quick – we did drop him back to five furlongs for his second outing, but that was more because the opportunity arose more than being a necessity.

“I think six furlongs is where we want to be with him at the moment.

“He’s taking on another notch of top-class horses, so we need to see more progress, but we’re hopeful he is progressing in the right direction to take the next step.”

Silver seeking Mile gold at Lingfield

Silver Quartz will have the assistance of Hollie Doyle in the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield on Friday.

Formerly trained by Hugo Palmer and Archie Watson, Silver Quartz was highly thought of in his younger days but appeared to lose his way.

He joined Francis-Henri Graffard in France in September 2019 and has subsequently won four times, including the last twice.

“I am very happy with Silver Quartz – I think he heads to Lingfield in very good form,” said Graffard.

“It looks an obvious race to go for because he likes the Polytrack and the mile is a good distance for him.

“He won at Deauville at the beginning of January and then I did not have a lot of options, which is why I kept him fresh for the race at Chantilly.

“That was another nice performance from him – and I think the confidence of the horse at the moment is very high.”

Another French-trained runner in the race is Canagat, who Doyle rode to victory at Newcastle twice last summer when with Watson.

He is now in the care of Georgios Alimpinisis.

Owner Nurlan Bizakov’s stud manager Tony Fry said today: “We were a little disappointed with Canagat last time.

“The way the race panned out didn’t suit as it turned into a sit and sprint, but he has come out of it well.

“His form behind Wally looks pretty good and a reproduction of that should see him run well.

“It is nice to be involved on days like this and Luke Morris is booked to ride, so fingers crossed.”

John and Thady Gosden celebrate first winner under joint licence

Regent gave John and Thady Gosden a winner with their first runner since taking out a joint licence when successful at Lingfield.

It was a perfect start for the father-and-son team ahead of a big Saturday, with high-profile runners in Dubai and Doncaster for Newmarket’s Clarehaven stables.

Regent was their only runner of the day and she obliged in pleasing style.

“I’ll have to make two phone calls on the way home now,” joked winning rider Robert Havlin.

“That was good. It’s nice to ride the joint partnership’s first winner. Nothing much has changed really, but it’s nice to get it done.

“Thady is a chip off the old block and he’s been around the place for years, so there’s no real transition. It’s just business as usual really.”

The grey daughter of Frankel came from the rear of the field to land the Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Fillies’ Novice Stakes under a patient ride from Havlin.

The early pace for the 10-furlong heat was set by Friendly Princess and New Heights until the pack, led by Invite and Regent, closed in approaching the straight.

Hollie Doyle set sail for home on Invite on the home turn, but the move was covered by Havlin on the 11-8 favourite.

Regent knuckled down to her task to lead well inside the final furlong and score by half a length from Invite, with Marsden Cross four lengths away in third place.

Regent was now won the last two of her three career starts.

“This filly has been a bit of a project,” Havlin told Sky Sports Racing.

“She wants to do everything at a million miles an hour. I went out thinking I’ll make it up as I go along, but she was pretty slowly away as she has been on every occasion so far. There was one messing about in the stalls upset her.

“I rode her the way I did as she jumped so slow. Although she’s bit flighty, she’s getting better each race. She sticks her head down and she’s got plenty of guts.

“She’s seen all her three races out strong. If she can keep improving mentally and keep a lid on her, she’d be OK.”

Oisin Murphy return delayed pending completion of reinstatement testing

Oisin Murphy’s return to action has been delayed after the rider failed to complete the medical requirements set out by the British Horseracing Authority.

The champion jockey was due to make his comeback with three rides at Lingfield on Friday following a three-month suspension.

He was banned after a drugs test at Chantilly in July showed metabolites of cocaine. He strenuously denied taking the drug and requested a B sample.

Upon receiving the results, France Galop held a hearing where the rider’s defence of environmental contamination from a sexual encounter and scientific hair test evidence was accepted.

Oisin Murphy had planned to ride at Lingfield
Oisin Murphy had planned to ride at Lingfield (Dan Abraham/PA)

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However, early on Friday morning, Murphy posted on Twitter that he would be unable to take up his mounts at Lingfield and further rides at Chelmsford on Saturday due to an “administrative error”.

The BHA later clarified the situation in a statement, saying Murphy had not yet completed the necessary testing to return to competitive action.

The statement said: “Prior to returning to riding from a suspension of this nature, jockeys may be required to complete a course of testing, alongside other requirements, in order for the BHA’s chief medical adviser to confirm their safe return to race riding.

“On February 22 Mr Murphy contacted the BHA about his intended return to race riding. The BHA liaised with him and the PJA from this point onwards, including in regards to his testing requirements.

“On March 2 Mr Murphy was reminded of the requirements and that it is his responsibility to complete the necessary tests before a return to riding.

“As of March 12 Mr Murphy is only part way through his reinstatement testing, and he is therefore unable to ride at this point.

“Upon completion of the necessary processes satisfactorily, Mr Murphy will be able to return to riding.”

Murphy had earlier tweeted: “At 18.50 yesterday I was personally informed by the BHA due to an administrative error I will not be able to partner my rides at Lingfield today and Chelmsford on Saturday.

“I’m currently looking into this situation with the BHA and I plan to be back on the racetrack as soon as I possibly can.

“I apologise profusely to all the owners, trainers and supporters who I’m having to let down at such late notice. It’s 128 days since my last ride in the UK.”

Murphy later added: “Please note I can’t arrange testing personally. Only the BHA have the ability to do so. I’ve been available + completed all the tests thus far.”

Oisin Murphy return delayed by ‘administrative error’

Oisin Murphy’s planned return to action at Lingfield on Friday following a three-month suspension has been delayed due to an “administrative error”.

The champion jockey was banned after a drugs test at Chantilly in July showed metabolites of cocaine. He strenuously denied taking the drug and requested a B sample.

Upon receiving the results, France Galop held a hearing where the rider’s defence of environmental contamination from a sexual encounter and scientific hair test evidence was accepted.

He was due to take up three rides on Friday and a further five at Chelmsford on Saturday, but posted on Twitter: “At 18.50 yesterday I was personally informed by the BHA due to an administrative error I will not be able to partner my rides at Lingfield today and Chelmsford on Saturday.

“I’m currently looking into this situation with the BHA and I plan to be back on the racetrack as soon as I possibly can.

“I apologise profusely to all the owners, trainers and supporters who I’m having to let down at such late notice. It’s 128 days since my last ride in the UK.”

Oisin Murphy raring to go on return to action

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy is looking forward to returning to action at Lingfield on Friday following the conclusion of his three-month suspension.

Murphy was banned after a drugs test at Chantilly in July showed metabolites of cocaine. He strenuously denied taking the drug and requested a B sample.

Upon receiving the results, France Galop held a hearing where the rider’s defence of environmental contamination from a sexual encounter and scientific hair test evidence was accepted.

He returns with three rides, Rain Gauge and Sky Commander for James Tate and He Can Dance for Sylvester Kirk.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been riding out for the last month and Oaksey House have been super. I’ve a personal trainer named Gavin and he pushes my pretty hard,” said Murphy.

“I’ve watched a lot of racing, the Saudi Cup meeting was a huge success.

“All the big races in Japan have given me plenty of excitement at the weekends, particularly at Christmas and the New Year. Contrail and Daring Tact are outstanding horses.

“I want to be busy and get in riding out in different stables before Dubai World Cup night. Hopefully April will be kind both with opportunities and weather-wise.

Alcohol Free (left) is one of the horses Oisin Murphy is looking forward to riding in 2021
Alcohol Free (left) is one of the horses Oisin Murphy is looking forward to riding in 2021 (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“I’ve been fortunate to ride for top trainers and owners over the last few years and I want to retain those relationships.”

Asked which horses he was most looking forward to renewing acquaintances with he said: “Alcohol Free is already a Group One winner. She’s done well physically over the winter and I’m a big fan of hers. There’s also a filly Qatar (Racing) have with Hugo Palmer, Ocean Road, who I like, she’s had just the two starts.

“On World Cup night I’ll be riding Loves Only You from Japan in the Sheema Classic. She won the Japanese Oaks and is coming into the race off the back of a Group Two win.”

Coral make Murphy their 7-4 favourite to retain his title.

Murphy returns to action at Lingfield

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy will return to action following his drugs ban with three rides at Lingfield on Friday.

The champion jockey was banned for three months after a racecourse test, taken at Chantilly in July, found traces of cocaine in his system.

Having always strenuously denied he had taken any drugs, Murphy requested a B sample – and upon receiving the results, France Galop held a hearing where the rider’s defence of environmental contamination from a sexual encounter and scientific hair test evidence was accepted.

Murphy’s suspension took into account his defence, and he will launch his comeback aboard Rain Gauge in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novice Stakes at the Surrey venue.

Rain Gauge’s trainer James Tate has also booked Murphy for Sky Commander in the Bombardier British-Hopped Amber Beer Handicap, while the rider will complete his relatively low-key return aboard the Sylvester Kirk-trained He Can Dance in the Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Handicap.