Henry de Bromhead entitled to feel very disillusioned after defeat of Special Tiara at Sandown

Henry de Bromhead was entitled to feel utterly disillusioned, following the defeat of his Special Tiara in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last Saturday.
Henry de Bromhead entitled to feel very disillusioned after defeat of Special Tiara at Sandown

This contest summed up just about up everything that is wrong with the manner in which British racing often-deals with finishes that necessitate a stewards’ inquiry.

Sire De Grugy eventually beat Special Tiara three parts of a length into second and then survived the inevitable investigation.

Gary Moore’s charge jumped away to his left at the final fence and cannoned into the challenging Special Tiara.

At this stage Special Tiara, after appearing beaten, had rallied back strongly and looked to be coming to win his race.

But he was knocked sideways by Sire De Grugy, was completely stopped in his run and simply had his chance of scoring totally compromised.

That he proved capable of getting going again was something of a minor miracle and, truth to tell, was never going to close down the winner in the closing stages.

An inquiry was quickly called, but you knew in your heart of hearts, given much of what has gone before, that the stewards would nod in favour of the culprit and allow the result to stand.

On Racing UK those running the show soon indicated that there would be no alteration to the placings.

It wasn’t they felt, at least this was my understanding, that Sire De Grugy shouldn’t be demoted, but rather experience had taught them horses don’t go in these cases.

And, of course, they were proved right.

The decision was soon communicated and, much to the delight of most, you suspect, Sire De Grugy kept the race.

And so yet again British racing was seen in a less than favourable light and only in that jurisdiction could a set of stewards have arrived at such a conclusion.

De Bromhead is not given to outbursts and was reasonably restrained in his comments.

He made no secret, though, that he believed this was a wrong decision and his horse would have won, granted a clear passage. I could hardly agree more.

We know one can never be sure, obviously, but a system that gives the benefit of the doubt, and on an ongoing basis, to the aggressor is a badly flawed system.

Bought the Racing Post on Sunday and was eager to discover how they handled the controversy. After all this is the trade paper and might be expected to lead the way in the fight to change rules that are clearly ludicrous and laughable.

Their reaction was basically to say nothing. Mind you in the analysis of the Tingle Creek in the Post someone called Mark Brown said the following. “He (Special Tiara) couldn’t be called unlucky.’’ Really! Then in Monday’s Post Lee Mottershead produced this nugget: “It’s probably scant consolation to Special Tiara’s connections, but if he (Special Tiara) had been left riderless they would have gone home with neither a penny nor any right to appeal.’’ Gee, I bet no one else thought of that.

Leaving the result stand was, of course, the easiest thing in the world for the stewards to do.

After all Special Tiara was trained in Ireland and Sire De Grugy by the understandably very popular Gary Moore, patriarch of a superb racing family.

There was just a far better feel-good factor, if you were British, watching on Channel 4 or Racing UK, or at Sandown, about leaving the contest to Sire De Grugy.

De Bromhead revealed yesterday afternoon that no decision has yet been made concerning a likely appeal.

If they do decide to go ahead then chances are will be victims of a stupid system a second time.

Vautour, Don Cossack, Coneygree, Don Poli and Djakdam have all come through their early Cheltenham Gold Cup trials in good style.

There is no doubt in my mind, however, the horse that has impressed the most is Djakadam, who was positively brilliant when landing the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.

He’s always been good, since the first day he arrived here from France and as evidenced by a highly creditable second to Coneygree in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.

But at Punchestown, at least to my eyes, he shaped as one that is rapidly on the upgrade and, as a rising seven-year-old, has so much scope for more improvement.

Imagine if the Gold Cup was on next week the puzzle that would pose to both Ruby Walsh and Bryan Cooper.

Walsh would be facing something of a Sophie’s Choice conundrum between Djakadam and Vautour.

It wouldn’t be a whole lot better for Copper, trying to separate Don Cossack and the teak-tough Don Poli.

It’s too early to be getting carried away, but have to admit to being deeply impressed by Willie Mullins’ Yorkhill at Punchestown.

We knew going into that maiden hurdle he had a fair engine, having won two bumpers last season.

At Punchestown he wanted to do far too much for a lot of the two and a half mile journey and was entitled to empty somewhat in the closing stages.

But the son of Presenting came there swinging on the bridle in the straight and won with any amount in hand.

I’d say it was an ordinary enough heat and Yorkhill has lots to prove. He is, though, going to be kept on side by this observer, until knowing better.

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