Racing: Barons on mat

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DAVID BARONS will have to attend Jockey Club headquarters in Portman Square to explain the withdrawal of Topsham Bay from the Crudwell Cup Handicap Chase at Warwick yesterday.

In Topsham Bay's absence, Barons's second runner, Yiragan, carried top weight of 10st 3lb, but if Topsham Bay had been pulled out at the overnight stage, Yiragan would have shouldered 11st 7lb.

The Warwick stewards referred the matter to Portman Square as they were unable to interview Barons, who was racing at Ludlow, but the trainer is confident that he will offer a sound defence. 'The intention was to run the horse, but he wasn't right this morning. I've sent a veterinary certificate to Warwick,' Barons said, while his travelling head lad, Darius Harding, confirmed that 'Topsham Bay didn't eat up last night, and was found to have a throat infection this morning.'

Yiragan finished third, 22 lengths behind Boraceva, who was winning for the first time in 17 months. Toby Balding's diminutive gelding had unseated his jockey on four of his previous six starts, but gave Adrian Maguire little cause for concern yesterday. 'If he had some size he would be very good,' Balding said of the winner, who will bypass the Festival's stiff fences in favour of the Midlands National at Uttoxeter on 20 March.