Martin Dwyer shocked by two-month ban by Indian racing

By Cornelius LysaghtBBC horse racing correspondent
Martin Dwyer

Classic-winning jockey Martin Dwyer says he is "in a state of shock" after being banned for two months by the Indian racing authorities.

The suspension, for preventing a mount from running on its merits, runs from April 6 to May 31.

Dwyer told BBC Sport: "This is unbelievable, and I'm shocked and a bit numb about it all."

The 36-year-old is to appeal against the ban, which covers the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas.

The former winner of the Epsom Derby (Sir Percy, 2006) and Epsom Oaks (Casual Look, 2003) was punished following a race in Mumbai in February.

Stewards declared Dwyer's mount, Ice Age, the favourite, a non-runner- so bets were returned - after the horse was beaten into third place.

The Liverpool-born jockey insisted Ice Age had broken a blood vessel and bled extensively at the end of the race indicating an internal problem.

Such was the angry reaction of the crowd that Dwyer was rushed out of the track in the back of a car.

Following the verdict he told BBC Sport: "The vets confirmed about the horse 'bleeding' and I even had blood on me at the original hearing.

"I'm trying to get my head round it, but I will appeal against this decision, and will do everything I can to clear my name."

Normally the ban, imposed by the Royal Western India Turf Club, would apply worldwide. But if any appeal failed, the jockey can ask the British Horseracing Authority not to recognise it in Britain.

Last year, a 50-day suspension imposed in India on champion jockey Richard Hughes was upheld by the Authority.

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: "Martin is bitterly disappointed about the outcome of today's hearing and will be lodging an appeal against the decision as a matter of urgency.

"He is entirely innocent of the charges levelled against him - one only needs to view the head-on replay of the race to know that - and will fight to clear his name.

"He will have the full support of the PJA and in the event his appeal fails, our strong advice would be to make an application to ask the BHA not to reciprocate what in our view is an entirely unjust and perverse decision."