Did the Sandown Steward Bottle It?
I wasn’t going to take a look back at the weekends action this week with the Cheltenham Festival starting tomorrow but events at Sandown mean I am compelled to look at the outcome of Saturday’s Matchbook Imperial Cup.
The clearly talented if quirky Mr Antolini won the Imperial Cup to give trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies another win in the race. The horse is a rather hard ride as he showed when he hung badly to his right after the last and then squeezed up the eventual runner up Call Me Lord just before the line. A steward enquiry then ensured as too see if the interference that the runner up suffered had affected the outcome of the race. The fact that the winner won by a neck meant that the placings remained unaltered.
But should the race result have been changed? In my opinion it should have. It was a shocking decision by the stewards who clearly ‘bottled’ a decision on a big day. Meanwhile at Hereford in a not too dissimilar situation a horse was thrown out by the local stewards there.
There is too much flexibility in Britain for the stewards which leads to inconsistency. The French have this one right as there is no ambiguity, you hamper an opponent as Mr Antolini did and you lose the race. If he had won by a head or short-head does anyone think he would have kept the race?
Was Mr Antolini the best horse in the race? We can argue about that but did he interfere and hinder the chance of the runner-up? For me he did and he should have been placed second.
That’s my Monday rant over let’s get back to the good stuff. At last all the waiting is over and the tapes are about to rise on the year’s Cheltenham Festival.