Racing: Evans silences McCoy's Song

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The Independent Online
HIS SONG lost his unbeaten record over fences to a rank outsider, the British-trained Gutteridge, in the Irish Field Novice Chase at Punchestown yesterday.

A first winner in Ireland for the Welshpool trainer David Evans, Gutteridge, a 33-1 shot, battled back bravely under Tom Treacy to short-head the Tony McCoy-ridden even money favourite in a race where Promalee and Spirit Dancer hit the deck four fences out.

Evans, who has only two jumpers, explained: "I thought if there were a few fallers, Gutteridge would be placed and pay for his trip to Ireland. He only came over to keep Master Beveled company."

McCoy reported that His Song "ran flat and was gurgling going to the last fence" before being caught right on the line by the winner.

Following the opening race at Punchestown, the jockey Conor O'Dwyer was banned for 21 race days.

A strong finishing third to the 3-1 on favourite, Kings Banquet, in a novice hurdle, O'Dwyer and his mount Thats Fine By Me returned to jeers from a section of the crowd and the stewards took an equally dim view.

Although O'Dwyer admitted during the inquiry that he had ridden an injudicious race, the officials were of the opinion that he had not allowed his horse to run on his merits and handed out heavy penalties.

Thats Fine By Me, trained by Christy Roche, was suspended from racecourse action for 60 days, while O'Dwyer will not be able to resume until the last day of December.

Istabraq's bad luck with the weather continued yesterday as the meeting at Cork was cancelled because of the state of the track after heavy rain. It was the third time in eight days that the Champion Hurdle winner's reappearance has had to be put on hold because of the loss of a fixture.

PUNCHESTOWN 2.45: 1. GUTTERIDGE (T P Treacy) 33-1; 2. His Song evens fav; 3. Platonic-My-Eye 16-1. 6 ran. won by short-head, 3 lengths. (P D Evans, Welshpool). Tote: win pounds 24.70; places pounds 7.20, pounds 1.50. Reverse forecast: pounds 21.50. Computer straight forecast: pounds 66.23.