The Jockey's Journal: Dougie Costello has his say on St Leger dispute

The Jockey's Journal: Dougie Costello has his say on St Leger dispute

WHAT happened in the St Leger last weekend was pretty unbelievable, but I suppose rules are rules.

To recap, Simple Verse crossed the post in first place but was then demoted to second place for an alleged interference late in the race, handing victory to Bondi Beach.

An appeal is set to take place next week now, but to me it seemed as though he did try to squeeze his way around, but I don’t think it hindered the second horse, I thought it hindered himself more to be honest.

I was surprised by the decision though – it’s the first time a horse finishing first place in the Classic has been disqualified since 1789 – and I was only expecting a short ban as the punishment.

It’s cost trainer Ralph Beckett’s camp a lot of money, with first prize taking £393,000 and second getting £149,000. That’s a lot of money on the day but, as I said, rules are rules.

That’s two big races that Ralph’s team have lost like that in the space of a month and he had the same happen to him in the States with Jamie Spencer – that’s a serious amount of money they’ve missed out on.

I don’t expect Ralph to be too friendly with race stewards anytime soon, but they are appealing. It’s a bit like a court hearing as such, but I don’t think it will be overturned.

I’m not sure if it’s been a good thing for racing or not, but it has a lot of people talking about the issue, and I suppose even bad press is good press for a sport like ours.

Meanwhile, the former footballer Michael Owen had some bad news last week with the death of his Classic-winning horse Brown Panther after the Irish St Leger at The Curragh.

The seven-year-old became a real character of the flat circuit but had to be put down after breaking a leg, which is always sad to see with any livestock, especially with a horse who has achieved so much.

Owen and Tom Dascombe had done so much with Brown Panther, taking him to Australia, Canada – all the big international meetings – and it’s hard to find a horse like that who can deliver no matter where they perform.

He'll be sorely missed on the circuit.


Friday: Lexi's Hero E/W, 3.05 Ayr

Saturday: Hoof It E/W, 3.45 Ayr Gold Cup