Mohaafeth and Jim Crowley survive stewards' inquiry after late in-running drama
Short-priced favourite backers breathed a huge sigh of relief not once but twice after the Hampton Court Stakes as Mohaafeth was only deemed the winner after a stewards' inquiry.
William Haggas was forced to rule Mohaafeth out of the Epsom Derby at the 11th hour because of the ground and the colt went some way towards advertising why the trainer agonised over the decision.
While Mohaafeth, who went off 11-8, won comfortably at the line under Jim Crowley, the pair badly impeded the runner-up Roman Empire and had to survive a lengthy inquiry.
A relieved Crowley, who received a six-day ban for careless riding, said: "We've always liked him. It was a funny race – they went flat out down to the bend and there was a lot of bouncing around in front of me going on. I ended up getting there way too soon, he lugged into the rail and wasn't doing a stroke in front."
Haggas didn't hide his emotions when breaking the news that Mohaafeth would not run in the Derby this month and victory proved a perfect tonic for the trainer who is in little doubt he has a classy colt on his hands.
How the closing stages unfolded
The trainer said: "I think he's a pretty good horse. It probably didn't go his way today and Jim was concerned about the horse of Roger Varian's [Movin Time] who was on the front when he was quite far behind it. Jim said by his own admission he'd got going a bit early but the horse kept going which is the main thing. He did run across the track a bit which used up a lot of petrol."
Haggas said he would be in no hurry to step Mohaafeth up in trip, and would prefer to drop back in distance.
He explained: "I think if he's going to go one way it's shorter, not longer. I was always concerned about the trip in the Derby but there's only one of them. Then it rained and, for me, it became an easy decision not to run but that's history now.
"He's won a Listed and a Group 3 but he's not run against the older horses yet so he's got a lot to prove, but I think he's got some talent. I don't make comparisons with others, but he's a useful horse and he's always been a nice horse. I thought he looked great today.
“He's in the Eclipse. We'll see where we go but that's obviously the first target. It can't be good to soft or soft as he's a real quick-ground horse."
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