Jockey Gavin Sheehan is set to miss the busy new year period and the first two weekends of 2021 after being hit with a 14-day ban for his riding of Beaufort at Newbury.
The local stewards also fined trainer Warren Greatrex £3,000 for ‘schooling and conditioning the horse on a racecourse’.
Beaufort was one of three complete outsiders at 250-1 in the 16-strong field and was beaten 76 lengths in 13th place. The horse is suspended from running in any race for 40 days.
Greatrex described the decision as “farcical”, however, and insists he has done nothing wrong.
Beaufort had been beaten a total of 251 lengths in four previous races for him.
“I have to say it’s just ridiculous,” said Greatrex.
“The horse has got a rating of 87. He has been very keen in the past and hard work at home. Last year he had a couple of runs and he was headstrong. He ran at Newbury last year and finished third and bled after the race.
“We took him to Perth, and Kielan Woods rode. He led again that day, and Kielan Woods said he needed his wind doing and changing the tactics.
“We ran him at Plumpton last Monday when I instructed Gavin to do what Kielan had said, and he did get better as the race went on, but he is what is. I’ve run him today to try and improve him, because I think the more racing he does the better he will get.
“He behaved badly at the start and jumped midfield. But he was keen early on in the race, and Gavin did the best thing by trying to take a pull to settle him. They have said he has not ridden him out to the line. Are we meant to beat horses that are out of contention? He is rated 87, and a 250-1 shot.
“He is not running for a mark, because he has already got one – I am just trying to get the horse better by running him. It’s farcical. He finished 13th out of 16. What good going forward is it going to do to batter him to finish eighth.”
Greatrex will take advice before deciding to contest the verdict, but did reveal Sheehan intends to appeal. Sheehan returned to action only last month after breaking his wrist.
“I know Gavin plans to appeal,” said Greatrex.
“I will wait to hear from people and seek their advice and go from there. I’m confident I’ve done nothing wrong.
“I feel sorry for Gavin, because he is going to miss 14 important days of racing. He is a good guy that was riding a bad horse. He has done nothing wrong.”
Sheehan’s ban runs from December 30-31, January 1-12 inclusive.