The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has faced backlash after a Grand National jockey was reprimanded for trying to help.
Danny Cook, who had fallen from his ride I Just Know at Becher’s Brook on the first circuit, could be seen helping to wave runners around the fence as they approached it for a second time.
His weighing room colleague Charlie Deutsch had fallen from Houblon Des Obeaux and was being attended to by medics behind screens at the fence. A steward was also waving a flag and blowing a whistle to signal to riders that they should bypass the jump.
A stewards’ report following the Randox Health Grand National said an “enquiry was held” to ascertain why Danny had waved the riders around Becher’s Brook.
“After being interviewed and shown recordings of the incident, his explanation that he was attempting to help the racecourse staff by guiding the runners and loose horses around the bypassed fence was noted,” said the report.
“He was reminded of his responsibilities to not become involved in these procedures.”
Racing fans asked on social media why stewards felt the need to question Danny’s actions, drawing parallels with Ruby Walsh who flagged runners around the Canal Turn after Balthazar King’s fall in the 2015 Grand National.
A BHA spokesman later added: “While [Danny Cook’s] intentions are greatly appreciated, it is in the interest of welfare that we ask jockeys not to get involved as there are trained individuals managing these situations.
“To clarify, there were no repercussions for the rider following the earlier inquiry.
“Our stewards often look into anything which is out of the ordinary during the course of a race, as was the case here, so they can hear directly from the people involved.”
Danny thanked everyone for their messages of support.
“The stewards were just doing their job and I was just trying to help,” he said. “Great to be a part of it, what a brilliant horse race.”
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Charlie was not seriously injured — he walked to the racecourse medical centre, where he was checked over.
He went on to ride a winner at Plumpton in a handicap chase for conditional jockeys the following day (15 April).
Don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out Thursday (19 April) — for a full report from the Grand National Festival