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Horse Racing: It's lucky Murrihy and Kelsey-Fry aren't married - 'Here are your cornflakes, dear'. 'No, they're not' The Fallon trial.

Byline: David Ashforth watches as the Australian steward is put through the ringer

GOOD news. William Hibbert, representing Philip Sherkle, has found his wig. Evidently another barrister had taken it, perhaps mistaking his own head for Hibbert's. Hibbert still doesn't stand up, though, leaving that to John Kelsey-Fry QC, who resumes crossing words with Ray Murrihy.

For Murrihy, it must be like boxing ten rounds with Lennox Lewis, then being asked to step back into the ring for the same again. No wonder New South Wales's senior steward seems rattled, first confusing Krynica with Daring Aim, then getting in a muddle over racehorses' birthdays, then mistaking his right hand for his left. In comparison, Sydney must seem wonderfully inviting; an electric shock quite pleasant.

Murrihy and Kelsey-Fry quickly relapse into persistent disagreement. Kelsey-Fry suggests that, when Lost Soldier Three was stepped up in distance from Im2f to over Im5f, the step up was "significant"; Murrihy disagrees, regarding it as merely "a reasonable step up". Evidence of exasperation makes an early appearance, as the ground for disagreement shifts to the stretch of turf neighbouring the inside rails at Newbury where Murrihy contends that Kieren Fallon should have gone, and Kelsey-Fry contends that he should not.

There is a brief outbreak of coughing non-equine in Court 12, where very little is black and white, apart from the legal blonde's rather fetching outfit. She is wearing small pearl earrings, while Kate Bex, for Fergal Lynch, is wearing long dangly ones. Bex is wearing a wig but soon, in civil cases, barristers won't wear them anymore, which is surely a mistake. That will give the impression that they are normal human beings.

At 12.10pm, Kelsey-Fry asks Murrihy what he meant when he said, in relation to evidence of unsatisfactory riding by Fallon on Goodwood Spirit, "no, it's not strong". Kelsey-Fry keeps asking, as Jeremy Paxman once did with Michael Howard, and Murrihy keeps replying but, as with Howard, we never do discover the answer. It's lucky Kelsey-Fry and Murrihy aren't married. It would be hopeless. "Here are your Cornflakes, dear." "No, they're not."

Maybe it would help if counsel rotated. Tomorrow, Kelsey-Fry could represent the Crown, while Jonathan Caplan QC took over Fallon's defence. Just an idea.

Kelsey-Fry (still representing Fallon) observes that Murrihy "opined", a word that, along with rostral and laccolith, you very rarely hear.

And then we reach Beauvrai, one of the horses Fallon won on but not in a manner satisfactory to Murrihy, who objects, in particular, to Fallon's tardy removal of the hood and consequent loss of several lengths at the start.

We learn that, in Australia, trainers must inform stewards in advance if there is a departure from the instructions usually given to the rider of a particular horse. If the same applied in the UK, the rule might have been relevant in Beauvrai's case since, according to Kelsey-Fry, the instructions given by trainer Vince Smith to Fallon began, "miss the break".

Murrihy roundly condemns this instruction as unacceptable and ridiculous and suggests that Fallon should have ignored it. "He should rip the instructions up and ignore them?" Kelsey-Fry asks. "It happens every day," replies Murrihy. Kelsey-Fry delves into his bag and pulls out a look of utter astonishment. "Are you saying that you would criticise the jockey for doing what he was told?" "It is simply not appropriate to deliberately miss the start," Murrihy replies. Kelsey-Fry's jaw drops and his eyebrows rise.

"If Mr Fallon was given those instructions by the trainer, are you saying you would criticise Mr Fallon for following the trainer's instructions. Yes or no?" "Yes," replies Murrihy. Upon which reply, Kelsey-Fry informs the court that he has no further questions, and sits down.

IT IS a rule of British justice that someone must be standing in court at all times, in conformity with which James Sturman QC, for Darren Williams, promptly pops up. His wig is conspicuously white, and it is hard not to notice that he is holding a long piece of pink ribbon, which he proceeds to wind around two of his fingers, which should be all right as long as he doesn't need them to point with.

"My lord," says Sturman, "there are some bundles." In the case of Regina v Miles Rodgers et al, there invariably are. Sturman begins by asking Murrihy questions that elicit the information that several City of London policemen visited him in Australia, went to Bondi beach, and got sunburn.

If Murrihy is concise with his answers, there is a good chance he will catch a flight back to Australia this evening. He's missed it.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 2, 2007
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