04/18/2002 12:00AM

Kinane may miss Johannesburg mount


Michael Kinane could miss his Kentucky Derby ride on Johannesburg after having picked up a 7-day suspension from the Newmarket stewards on Thursday.

Kinane was set down after his mount Sahara Desert was disqualified from first and placed fifth in the day's final race, the Boadicea Conditions Stakes. The stewards determined that Kinane was guilty of "irresponsible riding of a major nature." The dates of the suspension are April 27 and April 29 through May 4, Kentucky Derby Day.

The 42-year-old Kinane, who made no comment as he left Newmarket, has until Monday to file an appeal to the English Jockey Club's Disciplinary Committee at Portman Square in London. The jockey found himself in a similar situation last year when he was suspended by the Irish stewards for an infraction at Leopardstown just days before he was scheduled to ride Galileo in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot. However, after his appeal was denied by the Irish Turf Club, he received a last minute injunction delaying the suspension until a later date and was able to guide Galileo to victory.

Aidan O'Brien announced on Tuesday that Jerry Bailey would have the Derby ride on Johannesburg's stablemate Castle Gandolfo. Now Kinane's suspension leaves the door open for Bailey to pick up the ride on Johannesburg. Precedent, however, dictates that Kinane and his powerful backers at Ballydoyle will pull out all the stops to have this suspension overturned or delayed.