LOUIS STEWARD is cursing his luck after a ban ruled him out of tonight’s William Hill Racing League finale.
The 25-year-old rider has been one of the league sensations with four winners to put him joint top of the jockeys on 207 points with Hayley Turner.
Yet while Turner and third-placed Jack Mitchell – who has 200 points – head to Newcastle this evening, Steward will be sitting at home counting the cost of losing out on a bonus payout of £25,000 for winning the event due to a nine-day whip ban.
Steward's heroics in the saddle from week three means his team Goat Racing are just four points off leaders Team Thoroughbid.
He said: “I’m gutted. I’d love to have been riding on the last night and it means I have lost all chance of winning the first prize.”
“If I can cling on to third spot then at least I will still get £20,000 – but if I hadn’t been banned I could have pocketed double that so I am disappointed for myself and also for my team who are doing so well.”
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Callum Shepherd steps in for fancied rides on Hillbilly and Red October both of whom Steward has ridden to win in the league.
Steward said: “I will be tuning in and cheering for Callum and hoping he can help Goat win.
“As for who will now win top jockey, I think Jack has the best batch of rides and will win – although Hayley won’t give up.
“I will also be watching Saffie Osborne because if she has a couple of winners she could pip me for third and I’d end up with absolutely nothing!
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“I’ve managed to get away for a few days as sitting at home for over a week was not going to be fun. I’ll tune in and see what happens, you never know!
“I’m delighted with how things are going on the whole. Some more doors have opened for me this year and I’d like to think I’ve taken my chances with both hands.
“If I can keep this up between now and the end of the season I’d be delighted.”
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