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Grand National Jockeys receive a caution

39 jockeys involved in the chaotic start to this year’s Grand National have received a caution for their part in the debacle after a disciplinary panel hearing on Wednesday. It took three attempts to get April’s Aintree showpiece underway, with runners and riders breaking the tapes on one occasion, pretty much all owing to the fact that the starter was giving the reluctant Battle Group every chance of going with the field.


It was the behavior of Battle Group that was given as the reason that the jockey’s would only receive a caution, with the disciplinary panel stating that: “the primary problems were from actions that were not theirs”.


A statement from the BHA said: “The disciplinary panel found 39 riders in breach of [rule] (D)44.4 as they lined up at start before being instructed to do so in Grand National. All 39 riders have been cautioned.”


On the day of the big race, all jockeys involved were called into the steward’s room but in a show of unity, the riders decided not to attend. Only five jockeys attended Wednesday’s hearing, with Aidan Coleman, Brian Hughes, Sam Twiston-Davies, Tom O’Brien and Tom Scudamore talking on behalf of all riders involved.


Professional Jockeys Association chief executive Paul Struthers: “We’re clearly pleased the jockeys have come out of today effectively without a punishment. They were cautioned. But did we need to come here? No.


“I was there, and there were clearly numerous mitigating factors. The jockeys were trying to do what they do ever day of the week and they were told no differently. We’re pleased there were no punishments, but bitterly disappointed that it had to come to this.


“The starters here today were placed in an invidious position, and it would be a scandal if any of those involved had to pay any sort of price. The first thing that jumps starts need is a proper review. It works well in eight-, nine-, 10-runner races, but in big fields there are problems.


“We’ve got away with it, but there are problems. We’ll work together, but it’s a shame we’ve had to go to all this expense and I think discussions will take place in a different atmosphere than they might have done.


“Some clarity from the BHA would help. But it wasn’t that bad.”


By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Pete Byrne/PA Wire


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