Former superstar jockey Steve Cauthen will appear as an expert witness for Secret Gesture's joint-owners Qatar Racing and Newsells Park StudPICTURE: Four Footed Fotos
Cauthen to appear as witness in Gesture appeal
THE first of two major disqualification appeals for Qatar Racing and Ralph Beckett will begin later on Wednesday when the Illinois Racing Board stages a hearing to decide if Secret Gesture should be reinstated as winner of last month's Beverly D Stakes.
Former superstar jockey Steve Cauthen will appear as an expert witness for Secret Gesture's joint-owners Qatar Racing and Newsells Park Stud during a directors' review conference that will determine whether stewards at Arlington Park were correct to demote the British challenger from first to third in the Grade 1 prize.
Although the hearing will begin on Wednesday, it could carry on into Thursday, while the appeal board has the right to take up to 30 days before revealing its decision.
First past the post
Secret Gesture passed the post a clear winner under Jamie Spencer - who will also give evidence in the appeal - but was placed third after allegedly interfering with the Irad Ortiz-ridden Stephanie's Kitten in the final strides. The latter was promoted to second from third with her Chad Brown-trained stablemate Watsdachances given first place.
Bernard J Hettel, former chief steward of Kentucky, will also be a witness for the Secret Gesture team.
Qatar Racing and Beckett suffered further disappointment on Saturday when Simple Verse was disqualified after winning the Ladbrokes St Leger. The appeal against that decision, which led to Bondi Beach being given the Classic, is set to be heard in London next week.