Racing: Defections hit Ascot as going dries

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The Independent Online
The Champion Hurdle candidates Large Action and Castle Sweep were among 12 horses withdrawn from yesterday's card at Ascot after the going became good to firm. More trainers are likely to keep their charges at home today, with Major Summit, King Lucifer and Garolo already among the doubtfuls.

Nick Cheyne, clerk of the course, said: "I'm dumbfounded at how the course has absorbed so much rain. We were even watering at the end of last week but it has gone through the ground like a sieve."

Only three horses contested yesterday's pounds 25,000 Coopers & Lybrand Ascot Hurdle, which Muse won by 12 lengths.

Racing in Britain was yesterday cleared of charges of widespread ill- treatment of former racehorses. A report by the International League for the Protection of Horses concluded there was no substance in allegations of large-scale mistreatment which came to prominence in the television programme "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?",