Lynch falls foul of non-trier rules on second day back in saddle

Cheltenham-winning jockey’s return from injury blighted by suspension after chase

Andrew Lynch: hoping for wins this week at Cheltenham. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Andrew Lynch: hoping for wins this week at Cheltenham. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

A day after making his return to action following seven months on the injury sidelines, the Cheltenham festival-winning jockey Andrew Lynch was one of the latest to fall foul of the new ‘non-trier’ regulations in a remarkable four-runner race at Gowran on Saturday.

The four-runner Beginners’ Chase was won by the 8-15 favourite General Principle whose main market rival, Dicosimo, fell at the sixth fence.

General Principle eventually beat the Barry John Foley-ridden Cloudy Morning by nine lengths with Lynch’s mount, Theturnofthesun, half a length further back in third.

However the stewards judged that the second and third had breached the new Rule 212 ‘non-trier’ regulations and suspended Lynch and Foley for five days while both horses were banned from racing for 42 days each.

Cloudy Morning’s trainer, Declan Queally, and Theturnofthesun’s trainer, Matthew Smith, were each fined €2,000.

They were the seventh such penalties imposed since the new Rule 212 – which stresses the need for jockeys to be seen to make every effort – came into force on January 21st and it left many struggling to recall if half the field in any race had ever before been penalised under ‘non-trier’ rules.

‘Shocked’

Connections have until the close of business on Monday to lodge appeals and Lynch, who has said he was “shocked” at the outcome of the enquiry, hasn’t ruled that out.

“I was trying my best all the way up the straight. I thought I would get to the second horse but didn’t. And fair enough, we closed on the winner, but the winner was pulling up in front,” Lynch said on Sunday.

The rider, who famously won both an Arkle and the Champion Chase on Sizing Europe, returned to action at Ayr on Friday after a prolonged struggle to recover from a broken bone in his arm sustained last August.

Lynch finished third on both of his rides at Ayr, and on both rides at Gowran, but hopes for better fortune this week at Cheltenham, including on the Henry De Bromhead trained Deans Road in the final race on Tuesday, the Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase.

“I’m on Ballybocker Bridge for Peter Maher in the cross-country race [Wednesday] as well,” he said.

The weekend action was also notable for Sunday’s Grade 3 novice chase at Naas which saw all four runners carrying the colours of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud after the JP McManus owned Oscar Knight missed the race with a temperature.

O’Leary’s jockey, Bryan Cooper, picked right, winning on Ball D’Arc who beat the other 2-1 joint favourite, Gangster.

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