Irish Rookie (left) was interfered with by Namhroodah (centre), meaning the race was awarded to Red Box (far side) PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Ascot, Friday
Carraig Insurance EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Valiant Stakes (Listed Race) 1m 3yo+ fillies and mares
RED BOX was awarded the Valiant Stakes at Ascot on Friday after Namhroodah was adjudged to have interfered with third-placed Irish Rookie in an incident totally independent of the eventual winner.
Jamie Spencer led from the start on Namhroodah and looked to have given the field the slip over a furlong out, before Ryan Moore on Irish Rookie started to erode her advantage.
As Moore moved up the inside, Namhroodah edged onto the rail, blocking his path. At the same time Red Box thundered down the outside and split the pair on the track, a short-head behind Namhroodah and a neck in front of Irish Rookie.
Moore was seen to be unhappy with Spencer immediately after the line and in the subsequent inquiry it was ruled that the interference had been sufficient enough to warrant an amendment to the placings.
Spencer was also suspended for three days, which will include the Shergar Cup, in which he was scheduled to captain the Great Britain and Ireland team.
In circumstances remarkably similar to those seen at Goodwood in May in a race ultimately awarded to Go Far, the horse interfered with did not reap the main reward. Irish Rookie was however placed ahead of Namhroodah, who was demoted to third.
Paul Barton, stewards’ secretary, explained: “Our view is Ryan Moore was making tremendous ground before interfered with for about six strides and he only had six strides to make ground before the winning post. In our view in the balance of probability Irish Rookie would have won, but the rule only allows us to demote and not promote.”
Martyn Meade, trainer of Irish Rookie, was understandably frustrated with the outcome.
“That was the last thing she needed – we came here for an easy race and for her to enjoy it,” he said. “Luckily she seems okay but could easily have got a puncture wound.”
Of Spencer’s actions he said: “That was appalling and intentional as he has pulled his horse into us. Ryan said he couldn’t believe it and said it was a disgrace. If she had room she would have won “
Luke Morris, ultimately the winning jockey, said: “I lost a winner in London yesterday on an appeal so it’s nice to get one back and especially as it brings up my 100.”
He added: “It’s great for the filly as she is very valuable being out of a French Oaks winner.”
Of the unusual situation, he said: “It is a bit like the Seeking Magic case and the first I found out about getting the race was when I was asked to come out for the presentation.”
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