First two demoted in Cologne Group 1

Vif Monsieur was sensationally awarded the Group 1 Preis von Europa at Cologne yesterday after both winner Meandre and second Empoli were demoted for interference.

First two demoted in Cologne Group 1

Meandre surged to the lead up the home straight under jockey Adrie de Vries in the mile and a half but in the process Earl Of Tinsdal was squeezed and stopped in his run inside the final two furlongs.

Meandre had to fight hard to hold off the sustained challenge of Empoli in the final furlong but clung on to win. Vif Monsieur finished third with Earl Of Tinsdal fourth.

However, celebrations were short-lived for connections of Meandre as the stewards’ called an inquiry into the interference, the result of which saw the first two home relegated to third and fourth.

Jockey Koen Clijmans told the stewards that he felt his was still going well on eventual winner Vif Monsieur when the interference took place.

The demotion of both the first and second in a race is an unusual occurrence although the first three home were disqualified and placed behind the fourth home, Brook, in the 1974 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot when the race was a Group 3.

Aidan O’Brien meanwhile has four horses “in the mix” for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with running plans likely to be firmed up next week.

The Ballydoyle trainer is seeking a second Arc after Dylan Thomas in 2007, and at this stage can call on Ruler Of The World, Leading Light, Kingsbarns and Camelot, although ground conditions are crucial to the latter.

Epsom Derby hero Ruler Of The World stated his case when narrowly beaten in the Prix Niel, while Queen’s Vase winner Leading Light landed the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster to earn a possible supplementary entry for the Longchamp showpiece on October 6.

O’Brien said: “At the moment we have in the mix Ruler Of The World, Leading Light, Camelot and Kingsbarns. Camelot will only run if the ground is good or better.

“Leading Light will have to be supplemented and he will work next week before any decision is made. He’s lazy but is not short of class.”

One-time Derby favourite Kingsbarns has had just one run since winning last year’s Racing Post Trophy, that when a heavily-eased last of six in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

O’Brien said: “It would be a big call after Leopardstown and he’s also in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

“We have always thought the world of him, he seemed to bang his knees together crossing the road down the back straight at Leopardstown. Joseph (O’Brien) waited about a furlong to see if his action would come back but the race was over then and he looked after him.”

O’Brien added that he was likely to be represented by Wonderfully in the Shadwell Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket on Friday but that Darwin and Cristoforo Colombo were set to bypass the Joel Stakes on the same card.

Killarney teenager Oisin Murphy enjoyed the finest day of his fledgling career as victory in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup kicked off an extraordinary 9,260-1 four-timer on Saturday.

The 18-year-old apprentice rider, in his first season with Andrew Balding, steered 20-1 shot Highland Colori to a thumping victory in the Gold Cup to begin an incredible couple of hours.

If his day had begun and ended there, Murphy would have undoubtedly returned south beeming ear-to-ear, but as it transpired he was just getting started.

Murphy won the following handicap on 5-1 chance Levitate before picking up a spare ride on 20-1 outsider Silver Rime in the next and getting up by a neck.

His luck firmly in, he then capped a remarkable afternoon with victory in the concluding handicap on 5-2 favourite Cockney Sparrow.

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