Simple Verse was disqualified from first place in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster after a stewards’ inquiry into interference with runner-up Bondi Beach.
The Ralph Beckett-trained Simple Verse looked like she had justified the decision to supplement her for the final Classic of the season, but rider Andrea Atzeni, successful 12 months ago on Kingston Hill, had to manoeuvre his mount off the rail in the closing stages.
Simple Verse (8-1) and the Colm O’Donoghue-ridden Bondi Beach (2-1 joint-favourite) had a bit of a bumping match before the former passed the post a head to the good.
An inquiry was swiftly called into possible interference, and after both riders had argued their case, the announcement was made that the placings would be reversed, meaning another Classic for Aidan O’Brien.
Paul Smith, owner of Kingston Hill and representing the Coolmore operation which includes his father, Derrick, said: “I didn’t have an opinion if he would get the race.
“When Colm got off the horse he said he’d got a couple of bumps and we had an awfully good case to argue in the stewards’ room.”
O’Brien was at Leopardstown, where he told At The Races: “I’m delighted. You’re always sorry to get a race like that, but I think it was a little bit messy up the straight and Colm gave him a great ride. He’s a brave horse.”
Beckett, whose Secret Gesture was recently demoted to third after being first home in the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington in the same colours, said: “We lose the race when clearly both horses leaned on each other. Can you say it was entirely her fault? It’s absolutely certain we will appeal.”
Meanwhile, Golden Horn kept the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown after a dramatic finish to the Group One showpiece.
John Gosden’s Derby winner veered across from the far rail inside the final furlong, bumping into Free Eagle, who was making a strong challenge and was almost upsides.
There was no time for Free Eagle to regain his momentum and Golden Horn, the 5-4 favourite, came home in front. Found ran on to grab second place, just ahead of the Dermot Weld-trained Free Eagle.
As expected, a stewards’ inquiry was immediately called, but following some deliberation the placings remained unaltered.