Rachael Blackmore was the toast of some punters on Saturday afternoon after she guided the Sam Curling-trained Call Me Freddie to success at Cork, the horse having been backed from 40/1 overnight to 11/4 favourite at the off.
According to Paddy Power, the money really came for the winner on Saturday morning when he soon became a 20/1 shot. Shortly afterwards Blackmore was announced as his jockey, taking over from Ian McCarthy, who was unavailable to take the ride, having forgotten to fill in the required online medical form.
In the race, Call Me Freddie looked to have work to do when jumping the second last in second spot, and there were virtually three in line over the final flight. Wild Atlantic Lady looked to be getting the better of the argument in the closing stages but Blackmore managed to put Call Me Freddie's head in front on the line.
The winner began his career with Jedd O'Keeffe in England before joining Curling last September. He was well beaten in six starts for Curling towards the end of last year and was having his first run today for five months.
The stewards enquired into the winner's apparent improvement in form. Curling told the stewards he felt that today's improved performance was due to the better ground conditions. He outlined the animal's previous form, which he felt was very disappointing, and stated that his charge was unable to handle the ground on recent occasions. He subsequently confirmed that he had not reported this to the authorities as required.
When questioned about the significant market support for his charge Curling stated that he was unaware of where this had come from and expressed his surprise that the animal went off a very warm favourite.
When questioned about the earlier request for a change of rider owing to the declared rider's unavailability, he stated that he first became aware of the necessity for a rider change at around 11.30am or noon by text. When asked to confirm this to the stewards, he accepted that it was much earlier at 10.45am.
Evidence was also heard from Andrew Shaw, senior National Hunt handicapper, who outlined the horse's previous form and felt that today's win marked a significant improvement.
He stated that Call Me Freddie had shown its best form to date when finishing second in a bumper at Carlisle over two years ago on soft ground and added that the animal had not run for 158 days.
The handicapper was of the view that the improvement shown was more in the region of stones not pounds, which he has yet to officially evaluate.
He concluded by stating that Call Me Freddie had finished 70 lengths last of 16, priced at 66/1, on his most recent start in a handicap hurdle, and it was hard to envisage how the horse could start at such a short price today.
Having considered the evidence, the stewards referred the matter to the Referrals Committee under the provisions of Rule 212(b)(iv) for further consideration.