McCoy may miss out on Cheltenham


TONY McCOY is in danger of missing the Cheltenham Festival after suffering a suspected broken left shoulder at Wincanton yesterday. The champion jockey was injured when Speedy Snapsgem crashed at the first fence in the Maurice Lister Maiden Chase.

McCoy was given oxygen by paramedics before being stretchered to the course medical room. Later he was taken to the Yeovil General Hospital to undergo x-rays and further treatment.

Doctors believe that if the shoulder is broken, McCoy will be on the sidelines until the end of March. Apart from missing the Festival it is also likely to seriously threaten McCoy's chances of retaining the jockeys' crown.

McCoy, 22, lay prostrate after the tumble which claimed the life of Speedy Snapsgem. Only six of the 15 runners completed the incident-packed race - and Norman Williamson and Simon Burrough were also injured.

Burrough was taken to hospital after sustaining a suspected dislocated shoulder when Masked Martin fell at the sixth. Williamson was stood down for the remainder of the day when bruising his left shin and elbow in a fall from Withycombe Hill.

The remaining runners were forced to miss out the fence on the second and third circuits where McCoy and his stricken mount lay.

Tom Morgan, assistant to trainer Graham McCourt, was close by when McCoy came to grief. "Tony was speaking and conscious but he was under oxygen and saying it was his shoulder," he said.

The course doctor Chris Browne said: "He's got a significant injury to his left shoulder - probably a break - and is going to the hospital for x-rays and treatment. It could be two months on the sidelines as it's not good news with this sort of injury."

McCoy, who in November shattered by 30 days the record for the fastest 100 previously held by Peter Scudamore, has already ridden 130 winners.

Fergal Lynch will head to America next Tuesday after being hit with a 22-day riding ban yesterday. Lynch, 22, was severely punished by the Jockey Club's disciplinary committee for a riding misdemeanour at Lingfield Park last week.

Lynch had been referred to the disciplinary panel by the Lingfield stewards for irresponsible riding because he had previously incurred 12 days of bans for riding offences.

The committee found that his mount Mijas had interfered with Daaniera, ridden by Jimmy Quinn, in the Ryde Handicap. They deemed that the interference was caused by irresponsible riding in that Lynch moved across to inside when not sufficiently clear of Quinn.

The jockey's suspension takes effect on January 28th-30th inclusive and February 3rd-17th inclusive. One day of the punishment must be spent in remedial training - on a date yet to be fixed - and the other five days will be deferred until May 6th.

Lynch has a total of 24 days of bans as he was also suspended for two days on Wednesday for excessive use of the whip at Wolverhampton.