Cheltenham Festival jockey gets huge ban after 'physical altercation' with another rider | The Sun

A CHELTENHAM Festival jockey has copped a massive ban following a 'physical altercation' with a rival jockey.

Leading Irish point-to-point rider James Hannon has been suspended for 21 days following a confrontation with Mikey O'Connor at Kildorrery last month.

Hannon has been given the leg up aboard leading fancy Churchstonewarrior in the National Hunt Chase at Prestbury Park – the current third favourite for the contest.

Despite the ban, he WILL be free for his ride on the big stage as the suspension refers to point-to-point days only.

With no such races taking place on the Tuesday of Cheltenham, Hannon is free to ride on that day.

The incident at Kildorrery was reviewed by the The Referrals Committee, who concluded Hannon's actions "acted in a manner which was prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing."

O'Connor's runner led Dontrushslowtouch over the final fence to win by a comfortable margin, though Hannon felt he took the lead in a dangerous manner.

The incident was caught on camera and allegedly showed Hannon confront O'Connor before grabbing him.

Last season's joint-southern title winner Hannon told the panel the emotion of the situation took over but felt O'Connor could have done more to straighten up his mount and was angered by the move.

O'Connor admitted his surprise at the confrontation given they had been friends for years and were both senior riders.

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He also added he wasn't sure why Hannon was upset given his lengthy advantage at the obstacle.

Hannon accepted he had exchanged words with O'Connor and grabbed his shoulder and went on to describe the coming together as regrettable.

Hannon and Churchstonewarrior will pair up to tackle Gaillard Du Mesnil in the finale on the opening day of Cheltenham.


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