Experimental put out

 

As stewards inquiries go, yesterday's decision by the Clonmel officials to throw Experimental out of first place in the Hill Bar Handicap was entirely predictable.

The Eddie Ahern-ridden "winner" drifted left throughout the last furlong, taking Wild Zing and Jamie Spencer with him. The pair finished on the stands rail with Experimental edging it by a short head, but the bookmakers ended up betting 7 to 2 about him keeping it.

"He's sure to get it," Spencer assured Wild Zing's trainer, JohnJoe Walsh, and he was proved correct. The well-backed favourite Dawn Project was a well-beaten, six length third.

What was possibly less predictable was the stewards' decision to give Ahern a three-day ban for careless riding. They decided Experimental had caused interference and improved his placing in doing so. But Experimental has exhibited wandering tendencies before and Ahern, with the whip in his left hand, looked to do everything reasonably possible to keep him straight.

The stewards were also in action after the opening maiden. Zilio was winner number 18 of the season for Dermot Weld after making all and having the race in safe keeping a full furlong out.

Pat Smullen eased Zilio right down and Kevin Manning, on the odds on Annunciata, who was battling for second, ran up the back of the winner just after the line. Smullen admitted that he shouldn't have eased as quickly as he did, especially with Zilio wearing blinkers, and was handed a one-day ban for careless riding.

"The blinkers helped him and he came on for his first race. He'll go for a handicap next," said Mark Weld, representing his father, Dermot.

Grimshaw, a winner for Henry Cecil, was bought by Co Tipperary trainer Thomond O'Mara for 15,000 guineas at Newmarket last October, and he started to pay that back with a smooth success in the maiden hurdle under Willie Slattery.

"He's cheap now but there were days when he didn't seem so," joked O'Mara, who considers good ground essential for his horse.

Kilfane made the running for the last circuit of the handicap hurdle and was never seriously threatened as she made up for an expensive loss here last time. But The Anner Boy and Fran Flood had to battle much harder to hold Rizzoli by half a length in the two-and-a-half mile handicap.