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Barry Geraghty is in danger of missing the Punchestown Festival after being hit with a 30-day ban by the Limerick stewards for his ride on Noble Emperor.
Geraghty finished second aboard the Tony Martin-trained Noble Emperor in the Book Online At www.limerickraces.ie Handicap Hurdle but was subsequently called into the steward’s room along with all the other jockeys in the race, bar the winning rider Barry Cash.
Winner Velocity Boy was sent into the lead from the start of the two-mile contest and still held a big advantage over his rivals turning into the straight.
Geraghty delivered Noble Emperor late but the stewards ruled that he "failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing".
"All horses bar the winner were involved in a running and riding inquiry. Noble Emperor was done under Rule 212, not allowing a horse to run on his merits," Steward Michael O'Donoghue stated.
"The trainer was fined €3,000. The horse got 60 days, the rider got 30 days and forfeited his riding fees."
The jockey argued that he rode the horse in line with the instructions he had received from Martin and as a result allowed him to settle in the pack, 20 lengths off the pace set by Velocity Boy.
"A.J.Martin, stated that his instructions were to get some cover and try switch him off, bearing in mind that the horse can be keen," the report from the stewards read. "He added that the horse has disappointed in the past but should have enjoyed today's heavy conditions over two miles, despite having form over further. He expressed satisfaction with the ride and stated that the lost shoe had no bearing on the run on today's ground.
"Evidence was also heard from B.J.Geraghty who confirmed the instructions he received, adding that the horse needs to be covered up and delivered late. He added that the winner quickly established a good lead at the start and circumstances meant that he was unable to chase the leader until the straight as he was riding strictly to instructions. He confirmed that the horse felt healthy at all stages."
Geraghty's ban is due to begin on April 17 and will rule him out of the five-day Punchestown Festival as well as the conclusion of the British jumps season at Sandown. He is expected to appeal.