Robert Winston's testimony proved more persuasive than idle chatter yesterday as the rider was cleared of any offence at a hearing of the disciplinary panel of the Jockey Club inquiring into his riding of Dominion Rose at Ayr in June.
The jockey had finished sixth of 10 runners on Willie Muir's charge and had aroused suspicion in some minds as she had drifted in the betting from 5-1 to 10-1. No inquiry was called at the time, but there was an investigation subsequently after comments made on an internet chat-room site.
Yesterday's panel considered whether Winston had failed to obtain the best possible placing. They accepted his explanation that in trying to drop the filly in, in accordance with his instructions, she became disappointed and was then outpaced.
The jockey's solicitor, Andrew Chalk, said: "Mr Winston was never in any doubt that his explanation would be accepted. Given the background to the inquiry and the comments made on website chat-rooms, he is pleased to have had an opportunity to explain the race fully to the disciplinary panel so that they could clear his name."
Godolphin's attempt to give their season a lift on the international stage suffered a small hiccup yesterday when Sulamani, their flagbearer in tomorrow's Arlington Million, missed work due to bruising.
Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said: "Sulamani is suffering from a slight stone bruise and as a precaution did not go out on the track. All being well, he will resume training tomorrow. Missing a day's training is not of significance in terms of the outcome of the race. The significant factor is how he responds during the course of the day and, at the moment, the signs look encouraging."
Godolphin have also been shopping to strengthen their squad and have purchased Zafeen, winner of the St James's Palace Stakes, from Jaber Abdullah. The Zafonic colt, who has been trained by Mick Channon, will not now contest Sunday's Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville. He will stay in training next year before retiring to stud.
Kalaman, who followed Zafeen home in the St James's Palace, has been installed as favourite by Ladbrokes in their opening show of betting on the International Stakes at York on Tuesday. Michael Stoute's charge is a 7-4 shot ahead of Luca Cumani's Falbrav on 3-1 and last year's winner, Nayef, on 7-2. The latter put in a rare below-par effort in the King George but is now reported in good order by his trainer, Marcus Tregoning. "He's just great," Tregoning said. "He's fresh and well and looks in good form. I don't think I'd run him unless I thought we were there with a winning chance."
Ladbrokes report support for Perfect Drift in the Arlington Million. The four year-old is 11-2 third favourite from 9-1 and will be seeking to take advantage of Sulamani's poor draw in stall one. Sulamani's odds have lengthened to 9-4 from 2-1.
ARLINGTON MILLION (Chicago, Saturday): Ladbrokes: 9-4 Sulamani, 11-4 Storming Home, 11-2 Perfect Drift, 8-1 Paolini, 9-1 Honor In War, 10-1 Olden Times, 11-1 Kaieteur, 14-1 The Tin Man, 25-1 others. Coral: 2-1 Sulamani, 3-1 Storming Home, 6-1 Perfect Drift, 8-1 Honor In War, Paolini, 11-1 Olden Times, 14-1 Kaieteur, The Tin Man, 20-1 Touch Of Land, 25-1 Perfect Soul, 33-1 others.
JUDDMONTE INTERNATIONAL (York, Tuesday): Ladbrokes: 7-4 Kalaman, 3-1 Falbrav, 7-2 Nayef, 7-1 Mingun, 10-1 Moon Ballad, 12-1 Indian Creek, 14-1 Norse Dancer, 25-1 Magistretti, 40-1 Chancellor.
Nap: Cool Spice