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Jason Maguire cleared to ride leading Champion Hurdle contender

Date: 04/03/2011

Graeme Mcpherson QC represented Jason Maguire yesterday before the British Horseracing Authority and was successful in reducing the jockey’s 7 day ban to 6 days.. This in effect means Maguire is now clear to ride the unbeaten Peddlers Cross in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Maguire was due to miss out following a seven-day ban he picked up at Doncaster last Wednesday whilst riding Cool Mission in a three-mile beginners’ chase.

The original ban of 5 days was imposed for marking the horse, before a further two days were later awarded for excessive use of the whip. Consequently, the extra two days meant that Maguire was set to miss out at Cheltenham on the much fancied Peddlers Cross.

Maguire instructed Graeme McPherson QC to appeal the length of the imposed ban before the BHA disciplinary panel.

Following the decision an ecstatic Maguire said  "I'm absolutely delighted. It's brilliant to get back in the Champion Hurdle. It's all systems go now. Rory Mac Neice and Graeme McPherson did a great job.”

"It's been hanging over me in the last few days but I've had a lot of support from fellow jockeys and from people at the races. It's the right result for the Champion Hurdle."

Graeme McPherson firstly argued that that the individual five-day ban for the causing of the weals and the two-day ban for excessive frequency should be treated as two separate entities.

Although the panel did not agree to McPherson’s initial argument, Tim Chalton QC who chaired the panel along with two other members of the panel agreed with McPherson on his later grounds for appeal.

McPherson had later said that of the 18 strikes of the whip Maguire had been found to have used, six of those were in the backhand position and therefore "far less forceful". Furthermore, Maguire was not widely regarded as a “whip-happy jockey” and that Maguire had stopped immediately once he “knew the horse was beaten.”

The panel later said that they "took into account the relative lightness" of some of Maguire's shots, and "the fact he put his whip down". Maguire’s ban was respectfully reduced by 1 day and his deposit was also returned to him.
 
The suspension was due to run from 9th – 15th March inclusive and would have therefore ruled him out of the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. However, as the ban was successfully reduced to 6 days, Maguire will now be available to ride in the Stan James Champion Hurdle showpiece.
Trainer Donald McCain's said of his stable jockey’s successful appeal “I’m absolutely delighted, that goes without saying, but there’s also a feeling of relief”.

“The whole thing has not been nice to deal with but this is the right result.

“Cheltenham is the plan now and we just need to get the horse there in one piece. He’s in good form and it’s all on course now.”

Graeme McPherson was instructed by Rory Mac Neice of Ashfords Solicitors.

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