Jason Maguire is to appeal a seven-day ban that means he could miss out riding leading Champion Hurdle contender Peddlers Cross at Cheltenham next month.
The Meath man was all set to partner the unbeaten six-year-old for Donald McCain on March 15 – but found himself in trouble with the stewards at Doncaster following his ride on Cool Mission, runner-up to Beshabar in the three-mile beginners’ chase.
His suspension will be effective from March 9-15 inclusive. Five days of the ban was for marking the horse, with two days for using his whip with excessive frequency.
Peddlers Cross beat Binocular in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle in November, and showed his current well-being with an easy odds-on success at Kelso last week. He is a best-priced 11-2 chance for the Cheltenham race.
Stipendiary steward Robert Earnshaw said: “He has been suspended for using his whip on Cool Mission. The veterinary officer found that the horse had minor weals, for which he was suspended five days.
“He was also suspended two days for using his whip with excessive frequency.”
Maguire said: “It’s very frustrating for me because it’s the first day of Cheltenham and I’m due to ride Peddlers Cross.
“I’m obviously going to have to appeal and see what happens.
“I gave the horse a strong ride. It’s the marking that’s caused the problem.
“Once you mark a horse there’s no comeback from that, but something has to be done about that rule.
“We are all interested in the welfare of horses but there has to be some leeway for the jockeys.”
McCain said: “The stewards in the north have been chasing us all year and now they’ve got us.
“This has happened an awful lot with my horses in the north and it’s becoming a joke.
“I don’t stop horses, we don’t abuse horses – they are always at the tough end of racing – and all we do is our best.
“The horse has been marked – I can’t argue with that – but the horse is notoriously lazy at the best of times.
“Jason is devastated as they’ve cost him a Champion Hurdle ride.
“At least I’ve still got a Champion Hurdle horse – he hasn’t got anything and has put in so much work with the horse.”