Racing: Hay is held for Ransom

MARK JOHNSTON has encountered a stumbling block in his attempt to win two major prizes at Santa Anita, California with Quick Ransom. Track officials have insisted that supplies of food and hay sent from Middleham with the horse are subject to quarantine rules and have embargoed them. The gelding is to run in the dollars 250,000 ( pounds 172,000) San Luis Rey Stakes on Sunday and the dollars 400,000 ( pounds 275,000) San Juan Capistrano Handicap on 24 April.

Johnston, a qualified vet, said: 'The situation is frustrating as it's far from ideal for a horse to have to switch to different feed six days before a race. It's by far our biggest problem because the horse is in absolutely unbelievable shape and did some terrific work in his final preparation for the trip.'

Quick Ransom ended last season by winning the November Handicap at Doncaster, bringing his career earnings to nearly pounds 215,000.