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Page last updated at 21:32 GMT, Thursday, 3 March 2011

Jason Maguire is free to ride in the Champion Hurdle

Jockey Jason Maguire on board Cool Mission
Maguire on board Cool Mission at Doncaster

Jason Maguire is free to ride Peddlers Cross in Cheltenham's Champion Hurdle after winning his appeal against a seven-day ban for whip violations.

The Irishman was given two suspensions for his ride on Cool Mission at Doncaster on 23 February.

The British Horseracing Authority took one day off the ban, leaving him free to ride in the Champion Hurdle on the first day of the Festival on 15 March.

"I'm absolutely delighted. It's all systems go now," said Maguire.

"It's been hanging over me in the last few days but I've had a lot of support from fellow jockeys and from people at the races.

"It's the right result for the Champion Hurdle."

Maguire was originally banned for five days for marking the horse and two for using his whip with excessive frequency, meaning he would be suspended from 9-15 March but his ban now ends on the eve of the Festival.

The whole thing has not been nice to deal with but this is the right result

Peddlers Cross trainer Donald McCain

He argued at the time: "Once you mark a horse there's no comeback but something has to be done about that rule.

"I gave the horse a strong ride. We are all interested in the welfare of horses but there has to be some leeway for the jockeys."

His defence team Graeme McPherson and Rory Mac Neice argued that six of Maguire's 18 blows on the horse - two more than the permitted number - were in the backhand position and therefore "less forceful".

McPherson added that Maguire was "not a whip-happy jockey" and that his mount "continued to respond" for being hit, but that Maguire stopped hitting him "when he knew he was beaten".

The panel, chaired by Tim Charlton QC, took into account "the relative lightness" of some of Maguire's shots and "the fact he put his whip down".

Trainer Donald McCain was relieved to have his stable jockey available again as Maguire is the only rider to have partnered Peddlers Cross on the racecourse.

"I'm absolutely delighted, that goes without saying, but there's also a feeling of relief," said McCain.

"The whole thing has not been nice to deal with but this is the right result.

"Cheltenham is the plan now and we just need to get the horse there in one piece. He's in good form and it's all on course now."

McCain said after the original ban was handed out: "I don't stop horses, we don't abuse horses - they are always at the tough end of racing - and all we do is our best.

"The horse has been marked - I can't argue with that - but the horse is notoriously lazy at the best of times."

Peddlers Cross beat reigning two-mile king and Champion Hurdle favourite Binocular in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle in November and went out odds-on en route to victory at Kelso in February.

The Cheltenham Festival runs for four days from 15-18 March.

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see also
Long Run 'has Kauto Star to beat'
25 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
Cheltenham Festival 2011 schedule
23 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
McCain eyeing fifth National win
09 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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