Connections of Aloha Star have failed in their appeal against the stewards decision to demote the filly from second to third following interference between her and The Lir Jet in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last Sunday week.
Evidence was heard from both Chris Hayes and Fozzy Stack, rider and trainer of Aloha Star and Oisin Orr, who was on board The Lir Jet.
In his evidence, Hayes referred to an incident approximatively four furlongs from the finish where he stated that his mount became unbalanced after she received a bump from The Lir Jet. He stated that for a furlong and a half after this incident he had nursed Aloha Star back into the race and to adjust her lead leg and he felt that this bump had changed the complexion of the race.
Hayes pointed to the undulations of the Curragh, suggesting horses naturally lean to the stands rail. He accepted that his mount made contact with The Lir Jet inside the final two furlongs but did not accept that The Lir Jet became intimidated because of that or got knocked off balance.
Orr explained that he was taking his time when he decided to move out around Admiral Nelson inside the final four furlongs. He stated that after he made this manoeuvre he had kept a straight line on The Lir Jet until he received a bump from Aloha Star which then left his mount with no choice but to go left. Orr added, that in his opinion, he had moved at least six horse widths left and if Aloha Star had not being going that way The Lir Jet would have stayed straight and this was the difference of being beaten a short head for second place.
The Appeals Body could not find any error with the decision of the Stewards on the day and stated that they were also of the opinion that, on the balance of probabilities, interference had been caused by Aloha Star resulting in her improving her placing and they dismissed the appeal.
Hayes was however successful in appealing his one-day suspension for careless riding, reduced to a caution.
The difference in prize money for first and second in the Phoenix was €20,000.