Star Rage was sent off the 9- 4 market leader on his 22nd outing of the season and, although the mileage he has clocked up did not seem to have any effect on the ever- zestful four-year-old, the weight with which he has been burdened for his success took its toll. He has climbed 37lb in the handicap since finishing fourth in a Pontefract seller on 13 April.
'We'll see what the handicapper does,' Johnston said. 'Hopefully after two defeats he won't put him up. Star Rage is in at Newmarket on Friday but I shouldn't think he will run, and he'll probably have a break of three weeks.'
Another horse under scrutiny at Nottingham, Bo Knows Nigel, who had been backed from 16-1 to 2-1 only to be withdrawn before a race at Folkestone earlier this month, attracted much less money this time and finished second to Ball Gown after being sent off at 5-1.
At Hexham, Adrian Maguire received bruising to the back of his skull when knocked out of the saddle on Ehtefaal as Out Of Favour, the winner, jumped violently to the right early in the race. Maguire was shaken by the fall and must pass the racecourse doctor before resuming at Exeter tomorrow.