O'Brien, Lordan appeals fail in 'Magic Box' affair
Both trainer Aidan O'Brien and jockey Wayne Lordan yesterday failed in a bid to have their controversial punishments arising from the Music Box affair quashed at a Turf Club hearing.
O'Brien appealed against a €2,000 fine imposed under the Turf Club's new non-trier rules over the running and riding of the filly at Dundalk 11 days ago. Lordan was appealing his five-day ban.
However, after an hour and a half, a Referrals Committee hearing upheld the penalties imposed by the racecourse stewards after Music Box finished third to her stable companion Asking in a maiden race.
Music Box, owned by John Magnier and the other Coolmore partners, had her 42-day suspension imposed under Rule 212 confirmed also.
The Referrals Committee exonerated both O'Brien and Lordan of another charge of schooling in public which had been imposed by the Dundalk stewards.
Turf Club CEO Denis Egan said: "The fundamental difference in the new rule is that not alone must riders obtain the best possible placing but they must be seen to obtain the best possible placing. That is the difference, and a lot of trainers haven't really twigged the change in culture.
"The vast majority comply with the rule but it is just going to take some time to bed in. I'd expect the number of cases to fall as people become more familiar."
O'Brien was succinct, saying: "I was happy that they exonerated us but very disappointed with the other decision."
O'Brien had news of Cliffs Of Moher, the form of whose two-year-old maiden win looks extremely hot now, since the runner-up Orderofthegarter won a Guineas trial at the weekend and is now rated 111.
Cliffs Of Moher has been backed into as short as 12/1 for the Investec Derby in recent days, though he has not been seen yet this season and is out of a mare whose only win came at five furlongs.
The Ballydoyle maestro told the Irish Independent: "He is in good form and he could turn up in Chester for a trial or in the Dante. Regarding his stamina, he is by Galileo, an obvious positive, and we always liked him a lot. Hopefully we get him to a Derby trial."
Meanwhile, Dream Ahead colt Al Wukair quickened impressively past National Defense in the final furlong of the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte and emerged as a serious Qipco 2000 Guineas candidate for Andre Fabre.
The Al Shaqab Racing-owned colt was cut to single figures from 14/1 for the Guineas by a number of firms after extending his unbeaten record to three with a taking last-to-first success. Fabre describes him as a "very exciting colt".
My Tent Or Yours and Brain Power could represent Nicky Henderson in the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle on April 28. Henderson has also left in Champion Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air, but he is set for a summer break.
Sizing John is to run in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup, likely against Coneygree.