'Absolute disaster' – Paul Nicholls reveals top jockey is set to miss Cheltenham Festival due to new whip rules | The Sun

PAUL NICHOLLS spoke of an 'absolute disaster' as he revealed top jockey Lorcan Williams is set to miss Cheltenham Festival.

Ditcheat supremo Nicholls said Welsh wizard Williams, 22, had 'got himselt into hot water' under the strict new measures.

The Whip Review committee meet tomorrow – when Nicholls believes they will hit Williams with a 16-day ban.

That will likely rule the rider – who won the St James' Place Festival Challenge Cup on Porlock Bay in 2021 – out of the biggest week of the year.

Nicholls, who also warned his No1 rider Harry Cobden to be careful, told Betfair: "I think Lorcan has got himself into some hot water under these new whip rules.

"My understanding and his understanding is – it's got to be confirmed on Tuesday when this Whip Review meets – he thought he was going to get 16 days and rule him out of Cheltenham, which is tough really.

"It's one of those situations where he said if he hadn't given him a couple of cracks then he wouldn't have won.

"What was he to do, drop his hands and get beat?

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"This is where there's a grey area and it's difficult.

"I don't know what the outcome is, but it looks like he might have to sit out of Cheltenham, which is terribly sad.

"On that, Harry (Cobden) and everyone has got to be careful up to and including this weekend because if you get in trouble this is where you could miss Cheltenham, or days there.

"Into the following week, with the structure of whip reviews and dates, they'd be OK with Cheltenham, so everyone has to be careful this week.

"I've already stressed to Harry that he has to be careful because we don't want him missing Cheltenham because that would be an absolute disaster for absolutely everybody involved.

"These new whip rules are going to cause a headache, I can see that."

Williams is facing the ban for his winning ride on Makin'yourmindup at Haydock last weekend.

The Nicholls-trained 17-2 chance won by a short head over 15-2 Collectors Item in the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices' Hurdle in a driving finish.

Williams said after the victory: "He should probably go chasing next year as he jumps his hurdles too well if anything, but today he was tough and galloped all the way to the line."


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