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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Kirby confirms intention to appeal against Stargazer's Newcastle reversal

Stargazer (red and grey silks) 'beats' Island Brave (navy) at Newcastle on Friday
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A turnaround of nearly £40,000 in prize-money has encouraged trainer Phil Kirby to appeal against the decision of stewards to demote his runner Stargazer in a valuable handicap at Newcastle on Friday.

The five-year-old crossed the line ahead of Island Brave, but was deemed to have interfered with that rival as jockey Kevin Stott, who incurred a two-day careless riding ban, tried to avoid Nicholas T, who was loose after unseating Paul Mulrennan.

That verdict meant Zoe and George Hassall, who own the son of Canford Cliffs with Kirby, missed out on the £54,986 first prize, instead collecting £16,362 for being placed second.

Watch a replay of the Newcastle race

Kirby, who trains near the A1 in North Yorkshire, described the reversal as "crazy" in the immediate aftermath of the race and confirmed on Tuesday his appeal had been lodged.

"We've appealed," he said. "I can see why they called it like that, but I think it was a very harsh decision. It could have quite easily been left. The more you watch it, you can make a case for why they've done it, but it's just harsh. We own half of the horse and think we should definitely have a go."

The trainer, who has never been to the BHA's office in High Holborn, London, added: "I think we've a good chance and think we can make a case. I think it would be silly not to go and contest it. I've spoken to a lot of people who were very surprised it was turned around in the first place and trainers who definitely think we should contest it.

"It's a £40,000 turnaround. It's going to cost a few grand to have a go and the prize-money is one of the main reasons why we're doing it; you can't do it for a £3,000 race."

The ruling was a minor setback in an otherwise fine spell for Kirby, who believes there is more to come from Stargazer.

He added: "We're having a great run and have had 19 winners – Flat and jumps – since the turn of the year. We built a new yard and had a couple of quiet years as it's taken time to build back up to where we were, but the quality is getting better and Stargazer could be a proper horse.

"Well, he is a good horse, and was a good three-year-old for Sir Michael Stoute, but I don't think we're anywhere near the bottom of him yet."

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I think it'd be silly not to go and contest it
E.W. Terms
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