Friday 19 January 2018

BHA must not fan the flames

It was provocative of the stewards at York to demand that Cape Blanco, which finished sore after winning the Dante Stakes on Thursday, be trotted up before them when the Ballydoyle team were preparing the colt for the flight back home. And it's hard to know what they expected to glean by interviewing Aidan O'Brien's travelling head lad, Pat Keating.

O'Brien's denial of both requests means that he now has to sit before the British Horseracing Authority's (BHA) disciplinary panel. It's a needless development, particularly as O'Brien (above) stated that York's veterinary officers had already assessed Cape Blanco after the race.

With the colt having damaged the same heel he clipped when preparing for the Dante, Ballydoyle's priority was to get the Derby live-wire home as soon as possible and start treating the injury. That is surely the best way to maximise Cape Blanco's prospects of getting to Epsom.

Although rules are rules, and should never be dismissed lightly, the York stewards invoked one of those catch-all edicts. Whatever their motives, and we must assume they were driven by the desire to keep the public informed, the man best placed to do that is O'Brien himself. Let us hope the BHA panel does not fan the flames of a potentially damaging situation.

Irish Independent

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