Wednesday 18 October 2017

We will appeal Leger demotion - Beckett

Simple Verse (centre) hampers Bondi Beach up the straight in the St Leger on Saturday
Simple Verse (centre) hampers Bondi Beach up the straight in the St Leger on Saturday

Nick Robson

CONNECTIONS of Simple Verse have indicated they will appeal her controversial demotion in Saturday's Doncaster St Leger at the expense of Aidan O'Brien's Bondi Beach.

Trainer Ralph Beckett said they would contest the verdict after his filly was deemed to have interfered with runner-up Bondi Beach in two incidents inside the final two furlongs. There was just a head between the pair at the line.

While the reversal of the placings provoked debate among pundits - many of whom admitted that it must have been a tight call - the decision clearly stunned Beckett, jockey Andrea Atzeni and owner Sheikh Fahad's Qatar Racing.

Clearly adding to the frustration of Beckett is that fact that his Secret Gesture had won the Beverly D. Stakes in America recently only to be thrown out, and for it to happen twice to the same owner (Qatar Racing) and trainer in two Group Ones in the same season is virtually unheard of.

Immediately after the verdict of the stewards' inquiry had been announced, Beckett criticised the lack of consistency in the application of the rules

"I'm astonished, apart from anything else. There's no consistency in the rules," said the trainer. "One thing is for certain - we will appeal this. That's all I've got to say on the matter."

Just 10 minutes after losing the final Classic of the season, Atzeni then rode Captain Morley to victory but speaking afterwards he was still inconsolable.

He explained: "I'm down, still feel low and felt like going home. I was crying in the stalls, but at the end of my day it's my job. That's what that's what I get paid for - that's racing."

Bondi Beach's rider Colm O'Donoghue - banned for two days (September 27 and 28) for using his whip above the permitted level - said that he felt the rules had been applied correctly.

"It's racing, we all want a fair shot at it. I had time (after first bump) to go and get him (Atzeni), but again I got impeded," he said.

"My momentum was stopped, all I know is I tried to have a fair shot at it. I got impeded, and the rules have made the decision today."

Early yesterday, media manager for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Robin Mounsey, outlined the procedure for an appeal.

"They have 48 hours to appeal, not including Sunday so until close of play on Tuesday," he said.

"Then it will just depend on their availability for a hearing - either this Thursday or next Thursday most likely, but to be confirmed."

Meanwhile, the fourth horse home at Doncaster, Storm The Stars, is likely to be put away for the season following his admirable display on Saturday.

Third in the Epsom Derby and second in the Irish equivalent, the colt had to settle for fourth in the world's oldest Classic, a nose behind third-placed Fields Of Athenry, also trained by O'Brien.

Storm The Stars, trained by William Haggas, looked the likely winner when hitting the front two furlongs out, but had no more to give.

"The horse is fine this morning. First of all I didn't think he stayed, but also after the race he was more tired than I've seen him," said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum.

"That was his ninth race of the year. I think it was 50-50 - a combination of that and the trip.

Improvement

"He came to win the race easy and it was only in the final half-furlong it caught up with him. He was a good third until the final strides.

"With normal improvement from three to four he could be something to look forward to next year. At the moment, that's it for the season."

Meanwhile, the Godolphin-owned Emotionless (8/13 favourite) was thrust towards the head of the betting for next year's English 2,000 Guineas after a scintillating performance in the At The Races Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Ridden confidently by William Buick, the market leader travelled supremely well throughout and once asked to go and win his race, he quickened effortlessly clear of runner-up Ibn Malik which was three-and-a-half lengths down at the line

"The Dewhurst is the logical step. We'll keep to seven furlongs for now," said trainer Charlie Appleby.

Buick added: "He's the real deal."

Classy three-year-old Limato roared right back to form in the Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes, dispelling ground fears with a three and three-quarter-length success from Markaz in the hands of Atzeni.

Trainer Henry Candy said: "I think the Foret (over seven furlongs at Longchamp) will probably be his next target."

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