Jockey Pat Cosgrave has been hammered with a six-month ban for improper riding by the Emirates Racing Authority.
Cosgrove, 31, was aboard third-placed Anaerobio in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta at Meydan on 8 March. He set a slow pace on the 20-1 outsider, just in front of eventual winner Vercingetorix, who is also trained by Mike de Kock, and could be seen looking around to the stablemate before appearing to move wide on the home straight.
The penalty has been back-dated to start on 17 March and is due to finish on 17 September. The ERA stewards took evidence from Cosgrave, De Kock and Vercingetorix’s rider Christophe Soumillon. An ERA statement read: “Jockey Patrick Cosgrave was found guilty to a charge of improper riding pursuant to ERA 69 (i). The particulars of the charge being that when riding Anaerobio, passing the 600 metres until approaching the 400 metres Cosgrave looked back to his inside on at least three occasions and at the turn into the home straight he intentionally allowed his mount to shift out approximately three horses, thereby allowing stablemate Vercingetorix a clear inside run.”
The ban could stand in racing authorities worldwide. Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, tweeted: “I can confirm that @PJAOfficial is in contact with Pat Cosgrave and will advise/take advice on a possible appeal.” There was also controversy at Southwell yesterday in another low-grade event involving the prolific all-weather performer Stand Guard, which will be the subject of further BHA inquiries.
John Butler’s gelding was withdrawn with a self-certificate, which stated he had “not eaten up”, before the seller. It left the Neil Mulholland-trained Mr Burbidge to be sent off the 1-10 favourite and he obliged by nine lengths.
Stand Guard set a new record of 26 wins on the all-weather when landing a seller at the Nottinghamshire course on 6 March when four of his five rivals were withdrawn. He went off a 1-7 favourite after trading at odds-against before his opposition fell apart, which could potentially allow punters with an early price to take advantage of the Rule 4 system concerning deductions for non-runners. It was a similar affair when he scored at 1-8 on 28 January, when market rival La Estrella came out close to the off. Robin Mounsey, spokesman for the BHA said: “Should our inquiries unearth any suggestion that systems are being manipulated in order to create an unfair advantage then we can take action against those involved.”
Meanwhile, Seabass has been withdrawn from the Crabbie’s Grand National after suffering a serious ligament injury at Down Royal on Monday. Tidal Bay remains the top weight of the 73 horses still engaged on 5 April after 27 came out at the latest forfeit stage. Those to have been taken out include unlucky Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up On His Own.