The only proper description of last Saturday's race meeting is: The day the racing stewards ruled. We had the rather unusual situation of a horse which finished third in an event promoted to the position of winner and on the same day another horse having passed the post first suffering disqualification.
Some punters received an early Yuletide present, when in the fourth race Christmas Gift with Richard Mitchell finished third behind Check It Out and The Primemerlinian. The first two were taken down for what appeared on camera to be separate incidents of interference, with Christmas Gift eventually installed the winner. As is normally the case there were doubters of the stewards' decision to change the order of placing. In situations like these persons must respect the verdict of the officials. They are the ones entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing all race meets in this land. There exists a robust procedure for appeals for the connections of a disqualified horse should they want to exercise this right. Yes, these gentlemen called stewards will make mistakes but their authority should never be challenged.
More work for the stewards came in the ninth event as Sweet Trail with Dick Cardenas under what appeared to be quite a spanking ride at the time was moved from first to fifth for interference occasioned to Uncle Donny with the race being handed to Raise A Ruckus. Really a shame to see Sweet Trail disqualified as the chestnut filly was devastating in her performance. That, however, is life in racing.
Trainer Anthony Nunes was in fine fettle on the day with a triple, Principe, Premium Returns and Maybe I Say So in the night pan, with the first two ridden by Shane Ellis and the third by Cardenas. While it is almost certain that Nunes will have to settle for second in the trainers' championship behind the incumbent Wayne DaCosta, his status as a top-notch conditioner cannot be questioned. Well done 'Baba'.
Every now and again something happens at the Park to excite the connoisseurs. Last Saturday this excitement came from one of the new apprentices, Ruja Lahoe on board Skipping Cool for Fitzroy Glispie in a four-year-old maiden event over a mile. The young lad rode a very intelligent race but what was even more profound was his use of the whip especially over the last furlong.
This writer has watched the race several times and can with some amount of conviction say that Lahoe used his whip three times over the last furlong. He used his hands with great efficiency to effect his run from behind and his also used his intelligence of knowing where the winning post is located. The hope is that this performance will continue and become the modus for other riders.