A JOCKEY banned for 12 days for taking the wrong course when leading has admitted the incident was 'the most embarrassing thing I've done'.
Poor Craig Nichol was out in front on the hard-pulling Northern Falcon at Musselburgh on New Year's Day.
But rounding the bend for the home straight, Nichol was unable to stop the uncontrollable gelding from running out.
Northern Falcon burst onto the chase course, with the jockey fortunately pulling him up quickly after.
Hauled in for questioning afterwards, stewards deemed Nichol's actions warranted a 12-day ban, beginning January 15.
He told Racing TV of the shame he felt after banging in a winner at Ayr the day after.
Nichol said: "The year's not started great but these things happen.
"It's the most embarrassing thing I've done in my career.
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"I hold my hands up and take it on the chin. I had a ride in the race after so you've got to forget about it quickly.
"Now I'll have a couple weeks off so I need to bang in some winners before then to make up for it."
The report from the stewards’ said: "An enquiry was held to consider the reason Northern Falcon, ridden by Craig Nichol, had appeared to take the incorrect course after jumping the last hurdle in the back straight, running on the wrong side of the rail and the marker denoting the chase course, whereupon Nichol pulled the gelding up.
"The rider was interviewed and shown recordings of the incident.
"Having heard Nichol’s explanation, the rider was suspended for 12 days for taking the wrong course."
Amazingly, Nichol was the second jockey to be banned for the same offence in just five days.
Conditional rider Tom Buckley also got a 12-day suspension for doing the same at Leicester on December 28.
The 3lb claimer, who rides for Paul Nicholls, was three lengths clear of the field when taking the wrong course on the Nigel Hawke-trained Sindabella.
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