Cheltenham-winning owner reacts as jockey suspended after Uttoxeter disqualification

Cheltenham-winning owner reacts to Bradley Roberts' 14-day suspension after disqualification at Uttoxeter Races

A photo of Uttoxeter Racecourse grounds
The incident took place at Uttoxeter Racecourse grounds | Credit: Jacob Hawley

Cheltenham-winning owner and popular talkSPORT tipster Tom Lunn has offered his insight on Bradley Roberts following his disqualification from the Optimum Experience Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter Racecourse.

The NCTJ accredited journalist believes that, despite the unfortunate incident, Roberts is a young and promising jockey and can learn from the experience and continue to improve in future races.

Roberts was suspended for 14 days as a result of the incident. The timeframe coincides with the upcoming Derby Festival at Epsom. 

During the race at Uttoxeter, Roberts, riding Harry The Norseman, displayed a commanding performance, taking a significant lead and crossing the finish line in first place by a remarkable 18 lengths.

“he can learn from it and use it going forward…”

However, an unexpected deviation from the intended course led to his disqualification. Roberts bypassed the omitted third-last fence by veering left of the C marker, instead of following the designated right path. 


The race stewards meticulously reviewed the footage and confirmed Roberts’ error, resulting in his horse being placed eighth and Do It For Thy Sen declared the new winner.

“It did appear as though the few fences that were omitted for the low sun made it tricky for Roberts, or any jockey, to make the right adjustments to the course,” Lunn told StoryHub Derby. 

“It made a difficult job that little bit more complicated but, obviously, once you do make that mistake, unfortunately, there’s no other result aside from disqualification. 

“He’s still an up-and-coming jockey but, as with all these races, he can learn from it and use it going forward.”

Sam Twiston-Davies, the jockey promoted to first place following Roberts’ disqualification, expressed empathy towards his competitor to Sky Sports Racing, acknowledging the unfortunate circumstances.

“It’s not how you want to win,” Twiston-Davies said. “Bradley was well clear of me, and I was thinking it’s not ideal for him, but hopefully, he’ll be okay. It’s just one of those things.”

Full-time punter Mark Thornton watched the race from his hometown in Ireland and believes the ban given to Roberts was ‘excessive’. “A two-week suspension is way too much,” Thornton told StoryHub.

He added: “(This is) exactly what happens when a jump race turns into a flat race. 

“These horses are trained specifically for jumping, they’re not familiar with the open track.”

In the days after the incident, Julian Nettlefold, owner of the Longsdon-trained horse, expressed his sympathy for the jockey, according to the Racing Post, and recognised his impressive performance despite the disqualification. 

“I don’t blame him. The fact remains he rode a brilliant race, he won by 18 lengths when it’s only Harry [The Norseman’s] second time over fences.” said Nettlefold.

In April, Roberts rode the favourite, Almazhar Garde, also trained by Longsdon, in the Gloucester Brewery Holman Handicap Chase at Cheltenham racecourse. 

An image of the view from the Best Mates Enclosure at Cheltenham Racecourse.
View from the Best Mates Enclosure at Cheltenham Racecourse, where the Gloucester Brewery Holman Handicap Chase took place in April | Credit: Jacob Hawley

Starting the race from the back of the field, Almazhar Garde displayed determination and continued to demonstrate his potential, taking the lead towards the end.

However, a mistake at the 19th fence hindered the pair’s momentum, and Almazhar Garde placed 9th from 20 at the iconic racecourse.

Despite being scheduled to race Irish horse Pak Army in the Logicor Warwickshire Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Warwick on Tuesday night, Roberts remains sidelined due to his ongoing 14-day ban, which will conclude on June 3.