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Thursday, December 11, 2003



FRANCIS NORTON APPEAL RESULT




Panel: Alistair Macdonald Buchanan (Chairman), William Bethell, Nicholas Wrigley

The Disciplinary Panel of the Jockey Club held an enquiry on 11th December 2003 into the analysis of the sample of urine provided by Francis Norton, a licensed jockey, on 26th September 2002.


Norton's sample was found to contain benzoylecgonine, a diagnostic metabolite of cocaine, and a banned substance. Having considered the evidence, including a statement from Norton, who was legally represented, and other witnesses, including experts, the Panel found Norton to be in breach of Rule 66(vii) of the Rules of Racing.

Two possibilities were advanced on behalf of Norton to explain the source:

1. Environmental contamination from bank notes; or
2. The consumption unknowingly by Norton of a product of Coca-Tea supplied to him by a friend.


The Panel rejected the explanation that environmental contamination from bank notes was the cause of the finding of a banned substance. The evidence demonstrated that this was a scientific possibility in theory, but overwhelming unlikely, even if neither expert was in a position to state that unlikelihood in statistical terms.


The Panel did not accept the explanation that Coca-Tea was the attributable source of the banned substance. The account about how the illegal substance was in his friend's possession and how it may have been ingested by Norton, and his friend's inability to explain satisfactorily how it was that he alighted on this substance as a possible source, left the Panel not satisfied with the explanation.


The Panel was not of the view that a third alternative put to it by the Jockey Club, namely that this was a misuse of Class A drugs, necessarily follows. There could be another cause for which no explanation follows.

Having regard to all the circumstances and the mitigation put forward on Norton's behalf, under Rule 2(iv) the Panel withdrew his current licence to ride from 19th December 2003. It further ordered that Norton should not be issued with a further licence before 19th April 2004. The Panel also informed Norton that the issue of a new licence, would be dependent upon his obtaining a satisfactory Medical Report from the Jockey Club Chief Medical Advisor.




THORNTON SCOOPS DAILY TELEGRAPH "RIDE OF THE MONTH" AWARD




Andrew Thornton has been awarded Novembers Daily Telegraph Ride of the Month award in association with Channel4 attheraces.

Daily Telegraph readers and attheraces viewers voted Thornton for his ride on Kingscliff in the coral.co.uk Handicap Chase at 3m1/2 f at Ascot on the 22nd November.

Thornton's amazing win is being touted as the ride of the season. While jumping the 3rd fence Thornton's left rein broke sending him and his mount into the inside rail. Having managed to balance Kingscliff Thornton negotiated the remaining 17 fences with just the neck strap to hold onto and went on to win the race by an incredible 17 lengths. However according to Thornton it had nothing to do with him, claiming " if he wasn't such a good horse I'd never have won, I gave him a squeeze after the second last and he just went on – once we past the post I stood up in the stirrups and he pulled up – he really is a dream ride"

The 6-year-old Kingscliff returns to Cheltenham tomorrow where he won the Foxhunters at the festival last March to take on the seasoned chasers in the Tripleprint Chase Showcase Handicap.

The award is just one element of The Daily Telegraph's wide-ranging support of racing including sponsoring the leading jockey's at both the Cheltenham Festival and Martell Cognac Grand National Meeting.



WALMOOH FOR JEBEL ALI FEATURE




Walmooh, trained at Jebel Ali by Allan Smith, can follow on from his National Day Cup third and win the feature race, the 1,800 metre Thoroughbred Handicap at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday afternoon.


The son of In The Wings was only beaten half a length by stable mate Baaridd in the Listed National Day Cup over 1,600 metres at Abu Dhabi 12 days ago, the seven-year-old looked to be going the best and ran on well in the final 200 metres but Baaridd just managed to hold on for victory. Walmooh will be ridden on Friday by Brett Doyle.


Mazin Al Kurdi's Afghan, who will be the mount of Ted Durcan, looks a threat after his half length second at Nad Al Sheba just over a week ago, that run was over 2,000 metres and the five-year-old should have no problems with the stiff 1,800 metres on Friday.

Curule-trained by Doug Watson, is having his first run of the season, but that has not troubled any of the previous Watson runners who are all fit coming into their first outing. Curule's last run was a three quarter of a length third here over 1,600 metres in March. Most of the other runners in this event look safely held by Walmooh following their National Day Cup runs.

The afternoon's racing kicks off with a Purebred Arabian Handicap over 1,200 metres which should go to the Bakhit Al Ketbi-trained Red Zone, the mount of Gary Hind, who was last seen out comfortably winning over this trip at Abu Dhabi.

Challenges could come from Al Kurdi's Soaring High a runner up last time at Nad Al Sheba. James Frazier's Ghadeer is suited by this trip and has definite place claims.

Paddy Rudkin looks to have a great chance in the second, a 2,200 metre Thoroughbred maiden, with the Paul Hanagan-partnered Rhythmical Road, fourth in a Nad Al Sheba maiden just over two weeks ago.

Satish Seemar's Desert Glow looks a serious rival and was seventh last time out, but ran second in the UAE Oaks and could go well if returning to her very best form.

Aditiyan Selvaratnam runs his Pride of Dubai, Mary Williamson up, who ran close last time out after getting in a bit of trouble on the rail in the Nad al Sheba straight and could be right there at the finish on Friday if the four-year-old stays the trip.


Desert Whisper is the likely favourite in the third, a competitive Thoroughbred Handicap over 1,200 metres. The Al Kurdi-trained four-year-old, Durcan up, was a course and distance winner at the Jebel Ali opening meeting two weeks ago and there is nothing to suggest that he cannot repeat the victory.

His challengers could come in the form of Saabrin, Official Flame and Mesozoic, stable mate to Desert Whisper.

Mesozoic was a distance winner a week ago at Sharjah and kept on well under pressure in the final stages to win by three quarters of a length. Saabrin, trained by Smith, was runner-up to Desert Whisper here and was beaten by just over five lengths. Official Flame, from the Watson stable, was fourth behind Desert Whisper and has a chance of going close.

Al Kurdi's winning streak could continue into the fourth race a Thoroughbred limited conditions event over 1,400 metres with the three-year-old Bo Bid, Gary Hind up. Bo Bid finished fourth over this trip here at the opening meet, but has good placed form in his previous outing and could win if at his best.


Flying Springbok, from Seemar's Zabeel Stables, was fourth over further, here at the opening meet and was doing his best work at the finish, he may be suited by the drop in trip especially with the Jebel Ali hill. Al Kurdi could also take one of the placings with Nazeeh, the mount of Brett Doyle.

Watson's Hobb Alwahtan can continue his winning form and go for a hat trick of seasonal victories in the final race of the afternoon, a Thoroughbred handicap over 1,950 metres.

Hobb Alwahtan, a half brother to Dubai Millennium, has Richard Mullen in the saddle and is bouncing back from a one and three quarter length win at Nad Al Sheba over 2,000 metres at the end of November.

Runners that can go close are the Erwan Charpy-trained Yiflan, Seb Sanders in the saddle, a half length second over 1,600 metres here two weeks ago and Rudkin's Littleton Gandalf, second in a Nad Al Sheba maiden just over two weeks ago.


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