Racing: Knight fined and Murphy banned over 'non-trier'

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The Independent Online

The stewards ruled that Harringay, who started the 9-4 second favourite, had been "tenderly ridden" and that Knight had therefore fallen foul of the rule which states that trainers must ensure that every horse in their care runs on its merits and achieves the best possible placing.

It was no surprise when the Towcester stewards called in the mare's connections after the two-mile race. Held up towards the rear of the seven-runner field, she still appeared to be travelling well as the runners began the turn towards the home straight. But Murphy appeared to make no effort to go in pursue of the leaders. The mare was allowed to come home in her own time.

The ban on Murphy, from 14 to 27 November, rules the top rider out of the Betfair Chase at Haydock as well as the big Hennessy meeting at Newbury. The horse was also banned from running for 40 days.

Murphy told the stewards his orders had been to take his time as the mare had a history of wind problems and might struggle to get home in the soft ground. He also reported she had made a noise at the third hurdle from the finish so he let her get a second wind.

Knight confirmed this, saying the mare had a breathing operation over the summer and that she was satisfied with Murphy's ride. "I'm amazed and disappointed. I'm definitely going to take legal advice," the trainer said. "Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and I saw nothing wrong with the ride. The horse has a history of wind problems that have been well documented. The stewards knew that. It's the last straw in a trying week."

Murphy said: "The ban was unexpected and a bit severe. I'll have to look at the race again and talk to someone about it before I consider whether to appeal."

Stewards secretary Ashley Bealby said: "The stewards' feeling was that a horse with a breathing problem would drop away in a race but at no stage did the video of the race back that up. As far as the stewards were concerned there was nothing to support that view - there was no evidence of the horse slowing up."

* Red Blazer, one of Knight's favourite horses, will fill the box left empty by Best Mate at her stables in Oxfordshire. Red Blazer, aged 14, was saddled by Knight to nine successes until being retired in 2003.

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Yorkie

(Yarmouth 2.00)

NB: Orchard Supreme

(Yarmouth 2.30)