Davids Lad decision expected today

CONNECTIONS of Davids Lad must wait until today to discover whether Ireland's main fancy for the Martell Cognac Grand National will be allowed to run at Aintree next month.

The hearing at the High Court in Dublin over the 42-day suspension given to the Tony Martin-trained gelding by the Naas stewards, and upheld by the Irish Turf Club, has been adjourned until 11am today.

Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said: "Indications are that the case will finish tomorrow."

The saga began when Davids Lad, owned by the four-strong Eddie Joe's syndicate, finished last in the Paddy & Helen Cox Memorial Newlands Chase at Naas on February 23.

The stewards found the racecourse had been used as a training ground and that jockey Timmy Murphy had made insufficient effort aboard the horse.

Murphy was banned for seven days, Martin fined 1,000 and Davids Lad banned for 42 days. The suspension is due to end on April 6, the day after the Grand National.

The horse's owners took their case to court after their appeal against the suspension was turned down by the Turf Club's Appeals & Referrals Committee.

The owners then successfully made an ex-parte application to the High Court for a stay on the decision which was then successfully challenged by the Turf Club. That prevented Davids Lad from running at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

THE identities of another eight horses to have tested positive for morphine in Britain were released by the Jockey Club yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 35.

Of the octet confirmed yesterday by the results of 'B' tests, only one was a winner the James Boyle-trained Red Storm bringing the total number of winners facing disqualification to 14.

The source of the morphine is thought to be a contaminated batch of feed used by trainers in Britain and Ireland.

No decision has yet been taken by the Jockey Club as to whether the British cases will be heard together or individually and the timescale for the hearings is also uncertain.

Disciplinary committee hearings for positive samples sometimes take as long as six months to be heard.

But a Jockey Club spokesman said: "Disciplinary proceedings are advancing but it's as yet unclear as to when and how this many positives will be dealt with."

The trainers of the horses concerned are sure to be monitoring the state of affairs in Ireland where one horse, Christy Roche's Kadiskar, has been disqualified for a positive test with the trainer's fine waived.

The latest eight positive tests:

Faraway Look, December 7, Wolverhampton (trained by John O'Shea 2nd); Escalade, December 9, Wolverhampton (Mark Brisbourne 2nd); Good Shuil, December 13, Cheltenham (Tom Taaffe pulled up); Waterspray, December 14, Doncaster (John Spearing 3rd); Perfidious, December 14, Doncaster (James Boyle - 2nd); Red Storm, December 16, Wolverhampton (James Boyle 1st); Red Storm, December 18, Lingfield (James Boyle 7th); Takrir, December 30, Lingfield (Denis Coakley 3rd).

Technical difficulties forced the experiment of the new 16-bay starting stalls unit to be suspended at Southwell yesterday.

Problems with the hydraulic ram on one of the gates caused the withdrawal of the revolutionary Simtrack unit which has been in use by RaceTech for a month.

Southwell will revert to the normal 10-bay stalls, which have been at the course during the trial, while the problem is investigated.

RaceTech managing director Sim Harris said "It's obviously disappointing to have to suspend the stall from use, but the nature of any trial presents an element of risk.

"As reliability is a key factor we had no alternative but to withdraw the unit until the cause of the problem has been identified and rectified to our satisfaction."

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