Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 29th November 2014

Racing UK

Duern punishment could end his career

Late on Thursday afternoon the BHA announced that jockey Jack Duern was to be suspended for five months for repeated and serious breaches of the whip rules.

That he has transgressed the rules a number of times is not in question, but I am not entirely comfortable with the length of the ban for a young man making his way in the sport.

After all Frankie Dettori only got six months in 2012 for testing positive for cocaine.

We all need a helping hand in life from time to time and Jack Duern clearly needs some coaching as regards his use of the whip.

It is called remedial training, but I would prefer to say he is going to receive some more coaching, help and advice.

Remedial training is a far too draconian way to describe what he needs and what he is going to get.

Let's not beat about the bush. For a 20-year-old claimer making his way in the sport a sojourn of five months could end his career.

He has transgressed the rules but he has done so trying to win races. He needs a ban and some help, but to be told he cannot ride for five months seems to be harsh in the extreme.

There is clearly a problem with proportionality of the ban. If Ryan Moore or Richard Hughes had transgressed the rules to the extent that Duern has, then a five month ban would seem to be fair enough. Their experience means that they should have known a lot better, but for a guy like Duern who is trying to make his way in the sport and trying so hard to get on, it seems very harsh.

The ban may have something to do with the sport not wanting to upset the animal rights groups. After all, news of the ban hit the news wires around about 7.00pm on Thursday; a time where it may not be picked up immediately and may be usurped by other matters the following day.

As a sport we have already made massive changes to the Grand National as a result of pressure form outside influences and it looks as if these groups have still got us over a barrel.

I really hope Jack Duern sorts himself out and gets back to business in five months time but it will be difficult for him.

9/1 on Djakadam to win the Hennessy Gold Cup + Money Back If You Lose
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Hennessy Gold Cup:

Rocky Creek
© Racehorse Photos

Rocky Creek
Rocky Creek is 10-1 for the Hennessey Gold Cup and looks to be a cracking each-way bet. His second place behind Road To Riches in the Champion Chase at Down Royal was a tremendous effort - after all he was 18-lengths clear of the useful Boston Bob, who finished third.

Time may tell that being beaten by Road To Riches is no disgrace as that horse looks potentially top-class and is a 20-1 shot for the Cheltenham Festival. In short, back him each way at 10-1 and sit back and enjoy a fantastic race live on . If you are not yet a subscriber you have one day left to sign up to our free month trial here:

My second selection of the weekend is Albert Bridge in the 1.50 at Newbury. A useful horse on the Flat rated in the mid 80s, who was a good third in the November Handicap at Leopardstown, he now makes his third start over hurdles and may be reasonably treated off a mark of 133.

He is at his best under testing conditions as he showed when winning on heavy ground on the Flat and he will certainly get those today. He may be something of a wise guy horse today, but his latent potential makes him a decent each-way wager.

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Sprinter Sacre:

I am disappointed to see that Sprinter Sacre will not be running in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown. Apparently he is not quite ready to run. My worry is whether will he ever be able to run again? Surely he is ready to go by now, he has been off the track for eleven months. Will another few months really make any difference?

There has to be a slight suspicion that all is not quite right with him and from my own point of view I would be surprised to see him in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March. Even if he does make it, there has to be a doubt if he will be as good as he was. If you were of a mind to lay him for that race on the exchanges now I would not put you off.

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Angus McNae Saturday tips

1.50 Newbury: Albert Bridge each-way at 6-1 with William Hill

3.00 Newbury: Rocky Creek each-way at 11-1 Paddy Power