Tuesday 20 March 2018

Geraghty: I didn't see they had dolled off the last fence

BARRY GERAGHTY has revealed that he couldn't see that the final fence was dolled off as he and Andrew Lynch approached it in the midst of their duel in yesterday's Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Sizing Europe jockey Lynch, who found himself with a six-day ban at the end of it all too, was naturally not in the mood for talking, but Barry Geraghty, who won the race on Finian's Rainbow, admitted: "The sun was in our eyes coming off the final bend and I didn't see they had it dolled off, and I didn't realise we had to go around it until Andrew started to move out and took me with him.

"They didn't seem to have dolled off the whole fence and there was plenty of room to jump half of it, and if Andrew had jumped it I'd have gone with him. And we'd perhaps have paid the price for things not being clear. It was bad."

The BHA released a statement through their Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation and it said: "The priority in any bypassing situation is the safety and welfare of the injured parties and those administrating the treatment.

"In this case, there was a rider with a suspected broken leg. The direction markers were grouped together to give Richard Johnson and the medical optimum protection at the time.

"In today's Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival the correct procedures in the bypassing of the last fence were adopted.

"The fence was directed to be bypassed by Simon Claisse, the Clerk of the Course and once this direction was given the markers were placed on the fence.

"There are always three direction markers used to indicate a fence is to be bypassed. Initially the direction markers were positioned across the fence but due to the casualties on the landing side Richard Lindley, Senior Inspector of Courses decided that the markers be repositioned collectively on the inside of the fence for added protection of the injured persons."

What was incredibly admirable was the manner in which Henry de Bromhead took the situation and how he handled himself after his stable star Sizing Europe's defeat was an absolute credit.

The Waterford trainer said: "I'm obviously disappointed not to win, but it didn't happen today. He ran a blinder, he always does, and you need to have the luck around here and maybe we just didn't have it."

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