Reports21 February 2024

'It's unbelievable but what can you do' - 18-year-old Finn Tegetmeier has first winner chalked off after weighing in light

Finn Tegetmeier on Colcannon before being disqualified in the bumper
Finn Tegetmeier on Colcannon before being disqualified in the bumperCredit: Patrick McCann

A first 'winner' for rider Finn Tegetmeier in the concluding bumper turned very sour indeed as the 18-year-old from Kells failed to draw the correct weight and his mount Colcannon was disqualified after registering an emphatic success.

The homebred son of Berkshire quickened right away from his rivals inside the final furlong, coming home nine lengths clear of odds-on favourite Sermandzarak, but the smiles turned to frowns very quickly when Tegetmeier weighed in 1.3lb light, 0.3lb above the limit. 

Clerk of the scales Pat Malone immediately lodged an objection and a stewards' inquiry was called. The only explanation Tegetmeier could give was that he walked the track after weighing out and had also gone to the toilet. 

Colcannon was thrown out with Sermandzarak awarded the race, Real Empire was promoted to second and Harry's Dream to third. The stewards did not apportion blame for the incident and Tegetmeier did not receive a ban.

"It's unbelievable but what can you do," said the four-year-old's trainer Noel Meade.

It was a happier occasion for another amateur, Jack Sutton, who rode his first winner under rules on the Dermot McLoughlin-trained topweight Balum in the 2m4f handicap hurdle. The winner is owned by Sutton's parents Raymond and Eileen. 

The rider said: "We've had her since she was a foal, we couldn't sell her and decided to break her. It's been a long while, but I was hoping she would do that today.

"I love horses. My father buys foals and tries to pinhook if he can and sell them on as three-year-olds. We have a farm at home as well, we buy calves and my uncle has a bit of tillage too, and I help out with that during the summer. The family owns The Fox Inn in Ballymadun, too, so I'm kept busy!"

Impressive Moon festival bound

Hispanic Moon was cut to 14-1 from 40-1 for the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival by Paddy Power after impressively landing the Grade 3 BetVictor Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown's final meeting before the April-May festival.

A disappointing run at Leopardstown over Christmas meant the daughter of Spanish Moon went off an 11-2 shot for this race, but from early in the race she was on her game under Darragh O'Keeffe, and the manner in which she drew clear after the last to beat old rival Saylavee by eight lengths might just have been a career-best performance. The very disappointing 2-7 favourite Gala Marceau was a well-beaten third, a further ten lengths back.

Hispanic Moon (Darragh O'Keeffe, right) tackles Saylavee before going clear in the Quevega Mares Hurdle
Hispanic Moon (Darragh O'Keeffe, right) tackles Saylavee before going clear in the Quevega Mares HurdleCredit: Patrick McCann

As well as the Mares' Hurdle, the winner also has Cheltenham entries in the Coral Cup and the Martin Pipe, but it is surely the Grade 1 Mares' which will be the target after this. 

Trainer Henry de Bromhead's representative Robbie Power said: "She just didn't run her race at Christmas for some reason, but that was much more like it. Darragh knew after jumping two hurdles that she was back to herself. She travelled and jumped well, and went from the last to the line with her ears pricked, so there might be a bit more in the locker. 

"She's in the Mares' at Cheltenham and we would have to be tempted after that. She beat Saylavee far more easily than she did here in November so we will definitely take a punt if she comes out of the race okay."

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