Friday 28 October 2016

Bondi Beach getting ready for tilt at Melbourne Cup

Bondi Beach (left) and Simple Verse ride close together, leading to a stewards' inquiry at
Bondi Beach (left) and Simple Verse ride close together, leading to a stewards' inquiry at Doncaster

As Bondi Beach was yesterday settling into the surroundings of quarantine in Ballydoyle ahead of a tilt at the Emirates Melbourne Cup his trainer, Aidan O’Brien and jockey on English St Leger day, Colm O’Donoghue were in London where the horse was demoted to second in the English St Leger after a lengthy hearing.

Joined by John Kelsey-Fry QC and instructing solicitor Kevin Power, the Bondi Beach team were fighting to confirm the decision of the acting stewards at Doncaster on St Leger day who found that the interference caused by first past the post Simple Verse was enough to cost Bondi Beach but after hours of deliberation at High Holburn in London, the Ralph Beckett-trained and Qatar Racing-owned filly was reinstated as the winner of the final Classic of the British season.

Beckett has had an eventful season as he also controversially lost a race in America earlier in the year as Secret Gesture was demoted to third place having finished first in the Beverly D Stakes and that appeal is ongoing but connections were adamant that justice had been done.

Beckett said: “For me, under our rules, we always had an excellent case, given what has been going on on our racecourses for the last five years in similar instances.”

Along with Beckett and jockey Andrea Atzeni, in attendance on behalf of the Simple Verse team were David Redvers, racing manager to Qatar Racing, Graeme McPherson QC, instructing solicitor Andrew Chalk and other Qatar Racing representatives John Maxse and Kevin Darley.

“I thought our brief (McPherson) was excellent and argued it very well and I was confident the panel would see it our way. But obviously you can never be sure.

“It’s not quite the same, and it’s never going to be quite the same, in the sense of when you have it taken away on the day.

“It was horrendous at the time and it’s been a pretty miserable 11 days for those who live and work with me. It’s not been much fun.”

O’Brien commented afterwards: “I am delighted for Ralph Beckett and Sheikh Fahad on his first (British) Classic win, we felt we had a fair hearing and some you win and some you lose.

“Colm did his best to give the horse a winning ride and conducted himself like a professional today.

“Colm lost a Classic, but I’m sure he will get more, life goes on - some days work for you and some against.

“I think Bondi Beach will go to Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup now, as he seems in good form since Doncaster.”

Meanwhile, Coolmore’s retained jockey Ryan Moore took a major step towards returning to action yesterday morning as he rode work for Sir Michael Stoute for the first time since suffering a neck injury in a stalls incident at Newmarket in July.

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