Ten-day ban for amateur Gittins after hunter chase error

Ben Pauling

Ben Pauling: defended his amateur Dougie Gittins over Kelso ride

  PICTURE: Hugh Routledge  

 By Bruce Jackson 6:11PM 15 JAN 2017 

AMATEUR rider Dougie Gittins was hit with a ten-day ban at Kelso on Sunday after stewards felt he could have won the hunter chase if he had not mistaken the winning post.

Gittins was bearing down with a couple of lengths to find on weary favourite Black Thunder and Sam Waley-Cohen when he stood up in his irons and eased Dolatulo in the last 25 yards.

Dolatulo’s trainer Ben Pauling said: “I haven’t watched it enough but people I have spoken to don’t think he would have won.

“It looks a tough ban and I don’t know whether to appeal.”

Gittins works for Pauling as his PR and marketing manager and was having his third ride under Rules on a horse bought by his mother ironically out of the winner Black Thunder’s stable of Warren Greatrex.

‘He will learn from the mistake and won’t do it again’

Pauling added: “The idea was for Dougie to have fun and enjoy himself and he certainly did.

“He did everything right but then mistook the line – I think it was the starter’s stand on the left which he mistook for the post.

“He had given Dolatulo a very patient ride, getting into a lovely rhythm, letting the other two get on with it and when they tired he nearly did it.

“He will learn from the mistake and won’t do it again.”

Arguably the moment that cost Dolatulo the race came earlier on the run-in when Gittins went for the brave run up the rail but was cut off by Grand Vision and had to switch round him.

The stewards noted this interference without taking any action and then inquired into Gittins in their words “appearing to drop his hands and stop riding before the winning post.”

Gittins will be in the plate on Dolatulo again

The stewards report concluded he had breached Rule (B) 59.4 in failing to take all reasonable and permissible measure to obtain the best possible placing “in that he failed to ride out on a horse that could possibly have been placed first.”

Redemption could be around the corner for Gittins as Pauling pointed to a hunter chase at Warwick in ten days before the ban starts for the partnership to qualify for the St James’s Place Foxhunter at the Cheltenham Festival.

Pauling added: “Dolatulo is certainly good enough to go for it – he stays well and is a lovely old boy – but it is a big ask.

“He showed plenty of enthusiasm for the job today so who knows.”

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