Papillon favourite


PAPILLON was heavily backed yesterday to give Ted Walsh another big prize in the Jameson Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

The six-year-old, winner of the EBF Novice Chase Final on the same course last month, is now 6 to 1 favourite for next Monday race with Paddy Power bookmakers who laid him to lose around £20,000 at 10 to 1 and 8 to 1.

Trainer Walsh landed the biggest success of his career when Commanche Court took the Elite Racing Club Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham 10 days ago.

Meanwhile, Tony McCoy remained in limbo yesterday, not knowing whether he will be allowed to ride in the Martell Grand National. The Jockey Club is still trying to discover whether the champion jockey was unconscious for longer than a minute after a fall last week, which would rule him out of the Aintree showpiece a week on Saturday.

"Investigations are still going on and it all depends on talks with the doctors and the ambulance staff on the day," explained Jockey Club Director of public affairs David Pipe. We have got to work out how long he was unconscious. I wouldn't think there will be any more news today."

The Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle-winning rider had been expected to return to the saddle this Saturday, having been stood down for 10 days following a fall at Uttoxeter last Tuesday.

But his spell on the sidelines could be extended to three weeks, ruling him out of Aintree, due to reports that he was unconscious for almost three minutes.

If McCoy was found to have been knocked out for more than a minute the enforced spell on the sidelines is 21 days.

The Jockey Club disciplinary committee will today hear an appeal in the Polden Pride "non-triers" case. Trainer Toby Balding, jockey Barry Fenton and the gelding's two joint owners are appealing against the Exeter stewards' finding that the running of Polden Pride last Wednesday breached rule 151, the "non-triers"' rule.