Unoccupied (left, Phillip Enright) and Hidden Horizons (Paul Carberry) prepare for full battle
©Healy Racing Photos
There was heart-break for connections of Unoccupied as he lost the Toals Bookmakers Ulster Grand National European Breeders Fund Handicap Chase in the steward's room as Paul Carberry completed a treble at Downpatrick, promoted in this marathon on Stewart Crawford's Hidden Horizons.
Previously a point-to-point winner and victorious in a maiden hurdle at Hexham, Hidden Horizons was getting off the mark here over fences on her sixth attempt.
Herself and Unoccupied had this to themselves from a fair way out and the latter looked to have possibly gained the upper hand from the final fence.
However when Hidden Horizons tried to come with a renewed challenge on the stand's side rail she was badly hampered by Unoccupied and it wasn't a surprise to anyone when the result was amended. < Unoccupied had crossed the line with a length and a half in hand over the Carberry (earlier a winner on Taglietelle and Un Beau Matin) partnered Hidden Horizons.
Crawford said: "You'd prefer to win it properly but I thought she was always getting there. She always finishes her races well and I thought she'd have got up with a clear run.
"We've had this in mind for her since she was third here in December and these fences suit her.
"This is a race I've always wanted to win and if I had four or five for it I'd have let them all run."
The Stewards enquired into possible interference in the closing stages involving Unoccupied (GB), ridden by P.T.Enright, placed first and Hidden Horizons, ridden by P. Carberry, placed second, where it appeared Hidden Horizons was tightened when challenging on the nearside rail.
Evidence was heard from the riders concerned. Having viewed the recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Stewards were satisfied that Unoccupied (GB) in causing interference had improved his placing in relation to Hidden Horizons and ordered that the placings be reversed with the result now to read: First; Hidden Horizons, Second; Unoccupied (GB). Furthermore the Stewards were of the opinion that P.T. Enright had ridden carelessly and therefore suspended him for 2 racedays.
(MG & EM)