‘Schooling’ bans at Leicester

Connections of Chieftain's Choice were found guilty of 'schooling/conditioning on the racecourse' after he finished a staying-on fifth in the concluding race of the afternoon at Leicester on Sunday.

The Kevin Frost-trained gelding made his first appearance since May in the Waltham-On-The-Wolds Handicap Hurdle and was a 20/1 shot in the hands of Trevor Whelan.

An inquiry was held into the running and riding of the seven-year-old after he stayed on "under apparent tender handling", according to the stewards' report.

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Whelan stated that his instructions hd been to drop in last and get the gelding to finish its race off, as it had been finishing weakly under front-running tactics in previous starts.

The rider added that the gelding had ran too freely and began to gurgle at the fourth-last hurdle. He also said he was conscious it was his mount's first run since having a wind operation.

Frost confirmed these instructions and added that the gelding had had a hard season during the previous campaign and after a break for a wind operation, he wanted to see Chieftain's Choice settled and finishing its race.

Having heard their evidence and viewed recordings of the race, the stewards suspended Whelan for 16 days (December 12-22 inclusive and December 26-29 inclusive), Frost was fined £3,500 and Chieftain's Choice was suspended from running in any race for 40 days.

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