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Grand National jockeys avoid ban despite rule breach

ESPN staff
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Assistant starter Simon McNeill was knocked over in the chaos at the start of the 2014 Grand National © PA Photos
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The 39 riders involved in the false start in April's Grand National race have all escaped with a caution.

The British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel decided on Wednesday not to suspend the riders, despite finding them in breach of the rules, after deliberating the chaotic scenes from the start of the world's most famous race at Aintree.

The matter had been handed to the BHA after jockeys refused to attend a stewards' inquiry on the day of the race in order to discuss the incident, in which assistant starter Simon McNeill was knocked over.

The 39 riders involved were set to receive a blanket one-day riding suspension for breaching the rules but refused to attend the meeting at Aintree on April 5.

Out of the 40 jockeys who took part in the race, only Brendan Powell escaped sanction after his mount Battle Group refused to line up with the rest of the field.

The Racing Post reports that Battle Group's refusal was part of the reason why the disciplinary panel chose only to caution the riders, having found "the primary problems were from actions that were not theirs".

Brian Hughes, Tom Scudamore, Sam Twiston-Davies, Aidan Coleman and Tom O'Brien were all in attendance at the BHA to represent the jockeys.

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