Connections of Dragon Symbol lose appeal against the decision of the Ascot stewards to award the Commonwealth Cup to Campanelle
- Dragon Symbol passed the post a head in front of Campanelle
- Dettori-ridden Campanelle was bumped, earning jockey Murphy a ban
- Campanelle was awarded the Commonwealth Cup after stewards’ enquiry
The team behind Dragon Symbol have lost their appeal against the decision by Royal Ascot stewards to award the Commonwealth Cup to Wesley Ward-trained Campanelle.
Archie Watson-trained Dragon Symbol passed the post a head in front of Frankie Dettori-ridden Campanelle but hung right in the final furlong and a half, bumping his rival and earning his jockey Oisin Murphy a careless-riding ban.
However, Graeme MacPherson QC, representing Watson and Dragon Symbol’s owner Yoshiro Kubota, argued that Dettori had never had to stop riding nor had Campanelle had to break her stride and that in the last 19 strides of the race, as the two horses got back on an even keel, it was Dragon Symbol who pulled out more and had ‘slightly more gas left in the tank’ at the finish.
Campanelle was awarded the Commonwealth Cup after stewards’ enquiry at Royal Ascot
McPherson added: ‘That is why Dragon Symbol won, not because of any interference.’
But Louis Weston QC, for the BHA, said the ‘damage was done’ before the last half furlong with Campanelle, who he and Dettori said had been bumped three times, suffering intimidation and loss of momentum.
Dettori said: ‘I felt like if I was not taken off my true line and intimidated I would have won.’
The hearing featured a tetchy exchange between Murphy and Weston, with the dual champion jockey accused of being ‘argumentative and evasive’ under cross examination and being told to restrict his comments to answering the question by appeal panel chairman Brian Barker QC.
The hearing was also told of a disputed conversation in which Murphy claimed Dettori had told him Dragon Symbol was the best horse in the race.
This was dismissed as ‘nonsense’ by Dettori, who added: ‘He must have misheard me or made it up. I never said that.’