Amateur jockey Declan Lavery appeals against controversial suspension following outcry
- Lavery was one of three jockeys to receive suspensions in the race on Tuesday
- The BHA said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ by some of the conduct in the race
- Three riders received suspensions and one horse was put down following a fall
Amateur jockey Declan Lavery has appealed the controversial suspension handed to him on day one of the Cheltenham Festival, following uproar from jockeys and trainers including Sir AP McCoy.
The BHA stewards suspended Lavery for 10 days after ruling he had continued to ride third-placed Jerrysback when it ‘was considered contrary to the horse’s welfare’ in the National Hunt Chase on Tuesday.
He was one of three jockeys to receive suspensions in the race, which is for amateur jockeys and is run over four miles.
Three jockeys received suspensions after the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham on Tuesday
Twenty-time champion jockey McCoy described the decision to suspend Lavery as the worst he had seen in 25 years of coming to the Festival and an ’embarrassment’ to the BHA.
Retired Irish jockey Mick Fitzgerald said yesterday the suspension was ‘wrong’ and that he could not see anything wrong with Lavery’s ride after watching it back.
And trainer Jamie Osborne had earlier posted a video on social media, saying: ‘While the BHA have a duty to regulate this sport, I believe we have a duty to regulate their decisions.
‘So I am going to propose that Declan Lavery appeals this decision. We, as a sport, get behind him, we provide him with the backing, and the finance if necessary, we get him a lawyer, we get him veterinary evidence, we get him equine exercise physiologists and we prove to the BHA that there were no welfare issues.
‘We don’t want to be driven by these largely Southern Hemisphere stewards, who have a completely different view of what welfare is to us. Now, I have no axe to grind, I don’t ply my trade in National Hunt racing any more, but I am a fan.
‘And I believe if we allow this decision to go unchecked it could be that there will be no Cheltenham Festival within 10 years.’
The BHA confirmed to Racemail that Lavery has appealed the suspension.