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'He didn't need to do that' says racing legend as jockey cops 'ridiculous' ban

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A TOP jockey copped a ‘ridiculous’ ban after winning a race as Grand National legend Mick Fitzgerald said: “He didn’t need to do that.”

Sean Bowen felt the wrath of stewards after his victory on 9-4 joint-favourite Dr Seb at Uttoxeter on Thursday.

The Olly Murphy-trained seven-year-old won going away from 28-1 runner-up Westbrook Lad in a Class 4 2m7½f novices’ hurdle.

But stewards took exception to Bowen’s riding in the closing stages – claiming he had been ‘improper’.

Bowen had been angling out for room but it was decided he had caused unnecessary interference to the third-placed Youlneverwalkalone.

The stewards’ report read: “An enquiry was held to consider interference on the run to the final hurdle involving the winner, DR SEB (FR), ridden by Sean Bowen and YOULNEVERWALKALONE, placed third, ridden by Jonathan Burke.

“Bowen was suspended for four days for improper riding after angling his mount right-handed across the heels of the leader WESTBROOK LAD, placed second, when YOULNEVERWALKALONE was to his outside and upsides him, when it ought to have been obvious that such a manoeuvre would result in interference to YOULNEVERWALKALONE, which briefly became unbalanced after being carried off its intended line having received pressure from its inside.”

Punters were of the opinion Bowen was race-riding and that the ban was ‘ridiculous’ given the circumstances.

Iconic former jockey Fitzgerald, who won the 1996 Grand National on Rough Quest, said the wording used in Bowen’s ban was ‘significant’.

He said on Sky Sports Racing: “When you’re watching this you’re thinking,’right, OK, where’s Sean Bowen going to go?’

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“Is he going to go up the inside to win or is he going to go around or try to go through the gap.

“He has to make a decision quickly and you see, when we watch in slow motion, he goes for the middle option.

“But Johnny Burke can spot where Sean is trying to come out and tries to stop him but hasn’t got enough horse.

“So Sean thinks he can get through without causing incident. The stewards have taken a dim view of where Sean went and said he made that gap for himself.

“Is this improper riding? Or did Sean Bowen misjudge how well Johnny Burke was travelling?

“Burke doesn’t have to stop riding but stewards feel Bowen put another horse and rider, they feel, in danger or caused significant interference to warrant an improper riding ban.

“Sean Bowen will be thinking, ‘really? He was going backwards and I won convincingly’.

“As you’ll see he didn’t need to do that because his horse has won convincingly in the end.

“Sean won’t be happy with that and he’ll be thinking about getting that quashed.”

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