Element error

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The Independent Online
How a previously unraced horse twice ran under the name of an experienced handicapper is being investigated by the Jockey Club.

The Club launched an inquiry yesterday into the running of Hong Kong Dollar, trained by Brian Pearce, after it emerged that a stablemate called Element had in fact run in its place by mistake.

Hong Kong Dollar, previously with Brian Meehan, had been bought by Pearce at the September Sales together with Element, who had never run before, and from that moment their identities became confused.

Pearce ran the horse he thought was Hong Kong Dollar in an amateur riders' race at his local track Lingfield in September and then saddled him to finish 10th of 12 in a handicap at Wolverhampton on Saturday night. But each time the horse that actually ran was Element.

David Pipe, Jockey Club spokesman, said: "This is not a ringer inquiry. The trainer has admitted he got the two horses muddled up. We are investigating the circumstances. There is no skulduggery involved."

n Sebastian, a leading fancy for this year's Derby until hit by injury, has been retired until next season. The colt had made a winning comeback at Haydock last Wednesday, and Saturday's St Simon Stakes at Newbury had been his next target. But his owner, Lord Howard de Walden, and trainer, Henry Cecil, have now decided to put the colt away until next year.