'This has been a very big shock . . . I don't know what I'll do for the next

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 November, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 November, 1999, 12:00am

Alan Munro was banned for 16 meetings yesterday for his controversial riding of Silent Partner at Sha Tin last Sunday - and is out until February 2 next year.

The English jockey was found guilty of 'not taking all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure' that the Geoff Lane-trained four-year-old had a chance to win or be placed in the 1,600-metre Chevalier iTech Holdings Handicap.

Clearly shaken after the 90-minute hearing, Munro said: 'This is a very bad day for Alan Munro. I have the right to appeal but I put forward some very good points as I saw it and they have not carried sufficient weight with the stewards.

'I thought they would and I did not expect this. I cannot see much more that I can add to what I have already said, so I would have to say that an appeal is unlikely.

'But this has been a very big shock and I want some time to think about it. I am suspended so I can still ride trackwork. I don't know what I'll do for the next two months.' The 32-year-old dual Derby-winning pilot, who is licensed for the full season as a Club jockey, was charged under Rule 131 (ii) and not the more serious Rule 131 (i) that carries automatic disqualification.

During the hearing, trainer Lane was advised to make sure in future that the instructions he gives to his jockey leaves no room for question. The evidence given by owner Roy Einar Olsson was accepted. The 16-meeting suspension is the heaviest handed down in years and effectively rips the heart out of Munro's season. He will have three rides at Sha Tin tomorrow before disappearing into the racing wilderness.

Munro, who won the Epsom and Irish Derbys on Generous, was also on standby to ride Desert Fox in the Hong Kong Vase on December 12 if Irish star Michael Kinane does not line up an overseas ride for the biggest day on the local calendar.

But that prestigious ride has now been lost. Drifting out two points to 14-1 from his opening quote on the day, Silent Partner finished unplaced behind Smart Kid in the Class Two race at Sha Tin.

A running and riding inquiry opened immediately after the final event on Sunday and was adjourned until Wednesday where evidence from the trio was taken prior to the first race.

It concluded yesterday just minutes before midday after further evidence was taken from Munro, Lane and owner Olsson. Chief stipendiary steward John Schreck is expected to brief the media on the decision when the time for an appeal from Munro has lapsed - or it has taken place.

At Taipa yesterday, Munro's former Hong Kong and England weighing-room colleague Brent Thomson was suspended for six days.

Thomson, the much-travelled Australian, failed to ride out the Peter Leyshan-trained Lucky Timbillica to the satisfaction of the stewards on Tuesday night. He is banned until December 21.

Suspended British champion jockey Kieren Fallon is to spend his time on the sidelines in England and Ireland.

The talented Irishman, who was forced to miss Wednesday's Happy Valley fixture because of flu, is permitted to ride trackwork but has opted instead for more familiar surroundings. He returns to the saddle on Sunday week.

The three-day ban for careless riding aboard Air Force One in last weekend's third event robbed Fallon of a place in Sunday's Japan Cup. Fallon was due to partner the Mark Johnston-trained Fruits Of Love.

TT and DT guide: Pages 32-33