Maguire’s National hopes in the balance

Jason Maguire
Jason Maguire
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Grand National-winning rider Jason Maguire appears set to miss this year’s renewal of the Aintree spectacular on April 11.

Maguire, who famously struck for his boss Donald McCain on Ballabriggs in 2011, suffered a fall at Catterick, with resultant news from scans suggesting he may be on the sidelines for the world’s greatest steeplechase for the second successive year.

The news adds further to a “frustrating” season for Maguire, who was forced to miss the Cheltenham Festival through suspension. Writing in his blog on, Maguire said: “My frustrating season continues.

“After missing the Cheltenham Festival with a lengthy ban, my misery was compounded further by the fact I managed to pick up quite a bad injury when falling at Catterick last month.

“The first scan I had after the fall suggested that I had a slipped disc and I may have damaged one of my vertebrae, which is not good news at all. I’m having a second opinion on it next week, but the initial signs are not good, which means I may be ruled out of riding in the Grand National for the second year running.

“It’s fair to say luck is not on my side at the minute.”

Maguire missed Cheltenham and Aintree 12 months ago when a bad fall on the eve of the Festival left him with serious injuries in hospital.

Jockey Danny Cook has been suspended for six months by the British Horseracing Authority after testing positive for a banned substance.

Cook has not ridden since he was informed by the BHA last month that he had failed a drugs test.

A Cheltenham Festival winner five years ago on Great Endeavour, Cook tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, at Musselburgh on February 1.

The ban is backdated to February 24.

Cook was told of his penalty at a disciplinary hearing on Thursday.

BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey confirmed: “Danny has been banned for six months.

“The ban will be backdated to when Danny stopped riding, (which was) February 24.”