Scudamore left frustrated as Queen gains Listed prize
There was a controversial conclusion to the Listed mares' chase as Desert Queen jumped left across La Vaticane at the last fence before pulling away to win by five lengths.
The stewards inquired into the incident and issued a three-day careless riding ban to winning jockey Nick Scholfield after the mid-air collision stopped the Tom Scudamore-ridden runner-up in her tracks.
Scudamore cut a frustrated figure and when asked whether the interference cost him the race, he said: "Completely, I don't know what he was doing. To me Nick has allowed his horse to do it."
"If I had turned over, which I could have done, when does dangerous riding come into it? We've got to be stringent about it."
Scholfield, who will sit out November 17-18 and 20, said: "She did it well and won by a long way. I was in front all the way and didn't see what was going on in behind. I haven't got anything to say [about the interference] until I see a replay."
After deeming the riding offence to be careless rather than dangerous, stewards left the placings unaltered.
Stipendiary steward Robert Earnshaw explained: "We found the interference was careless in that he failed to take sufficient steps to prevent his horse from shifting left. With the distance being five lengths it would have had to fit into a higher category to consider changing the placings, and Tom Scudamore's mount looked held at the time anyway."
The race was the first of its kind in a new boosted programme for mares and Desert Queen's trainer Harry Fry pointed the way to similar contests at Warwick and Doncaster before the end of the year.
Jockey nails first winner
Amateur rider Jordan Nailor gave 11-10 favourite Vivas a polished ride to register his first success under rules in the hands and heels handicap hurdle.
The 18-year-old, whose uncle Dawson Lees was apprenticed to Barry Hills, has been going into winning trainer Charlie Longsdon's yard for four years and added to his six victories in point-to-points.
"When I saw the horse's price I thought the pressure was on but everyone told me not to worry and to ride a normal race, which is what I did, and it's worked out well," said Nailor.
Longsdon gained a double when the Halsall family-owned Tjongejonge powered to victory in the 3m handicap chase.
Alvarado away day
Fergal O'Brien, on the mark with Wizard's Sliabh in the 2m4½f mares' novice hurdle, also brought last season's Coral Scottish Grand National runner-up Alvarado to the track for a post-racing spin designed to get the freshness out of the staying chaser.
The 11-year-old finished fourth in the 2014 Grand National and filled the same spot the following year, but he failed to get in the Aintree showpiece last term.
"He won't be going to Cheltenham next week as there's no rain around and we'll look for a veterans' chase somewhere," said O'Brien.
Thought for the day
With the track's long, sweeping home straight, it seemed odd that the last two flights of hurdles were positioned so close together. The take-offs and landings require protection, but surely a more even spread is desirable.