From a wide barrier, FRIENDS OF NANJING was steadied in the early stages and shifted across behind runners.
In the early stages, MISTER MONTE was left racing wide and without cover and after the 1100 Metres was allowed to improve its position to race outside the lead.
Passing the 1300 Metres, DIAMOND LEGEND commenced to travel keenly and was steadied away from the heels of FORTUNATE RUNNER for some distance.
Approaching the 1200 Metres, RULETHEROOST was awkwardly placed close to the heels of NABOO STAR.
Approaching the 1000 Metres, HAPPY WARRIOR was left racing wide and without cover.
After the 700 Metres, NABOO STAR and DIAMOND LEGEND raced tight as both horses improved their position to the outside of FORTUNATE RUNNER which shifted out away from the heels of MISTER MONTE. This resulted in DIAMOND LEGEND bumping NABOO STAR on a number of occasions prior to the 600 Metres.
Approaching the 500 Metres, MR DARTHVEGAR was awkwardly placed behind LITTLE ISLAND. As MR DARTHVEGAR shifted to the outside of LITTLE ISLAND after the 500 Metres, LOVE CHUNGHWA was shifted out away from the heels of MR DARTHVEGAR and brushed CHARITY WINGS which was taken wider.
At the entrance to the Straight, MR DARTHVEGAR was shifted to the inside of LITTLE ISLAND. MR DARTHVEGAR then improved to be racing tight inside CURLING LUXURY which passing the 200 Metres shifted in, resulting in MR DARTHVEGAR racing tight inside that horse. MR DARTHVEGAR was then held up for clear running until the concluding stages and consequently was not able to be properly tested.
Also at the entrance to the Straight, DIAMOND LEGEND and NABOO STAR raced tight.
Approaching the 400 Metres, FORTUNATE RUNNER, DIAMOND LEGEND and NABOO STAR all raced tight.
The Stewards deferred the declaration of weighed-in whilst they considered if MR DARTHVEGAR (S de Sousa) had been afforded a fair start. After viewing the videos, it was established that after being loaded into the barriers MR DARTHVEGAR, which was being assisted by a starting gate handler, became fractious. MR DARTHVEGAR then stood satisfactorily until the start was effected at which time the horse again became fractious and momentarily turned its head to the right into the adjoining stall and consequently lost a considerable amount of ground. Throughout this incident, MR DARTHVEGAR continued to be assisted by the starting gate handler. As the Stewards were satisfied that MR DARTHVEGAR became fractious of its own accord as the start was effected and that the starting gate handler had played no part in the horse turning its head and missing the start, they ruled that MR DARTHVEGAR had been afforded a fair start and accordingly the horse was deemed to be a runner. Having regard to MR DARTHVEGAR’s recent record of having been fractious in the barriers, the Stewards ruled that it must barrier trial satisfactorily prior to its next race start. After the race, S de Sousa dismounted from MR DARTHVEGAR as he was experiencing lower back pain. As S de Sousa was transported to hospital, the Stewards, acting under the powers of Rule 112(5), approved for weighed-in to be declared without Jockey de Sousa weighing in.
When questioned regarding the tactics adopted on HAPPY WARRIOR as compared to those employed when the horse was successful last start, Trainer J Moore stated that instructions given to Z Purton on both occasions had been consistent. He said at its last start he was asked to ride the horse in about 5th or 6th position with cover, however, after being left racing wide and without cover in the race that was not being run at a fast tempo, the jockey elected to allow the horse to improve its position into the lead. He said he felt that tonight’s race would be run at a good tempo as there were a number of horses drawn more favourably than HAPPY WARRIOR which he expected would take up forward positions. He said he felt that if HAPPY WARRIOR were to be ridden forward tonight, because of the anticipated speed in the race, the horse would be left racing wide and without cover towards the lead. He said as the horse had drawn the outside barrier, he asked Jockey Purton to again attempt to obtain a position in advance of midfield and whilst this may have resulted in the horse again being left wide and without cover, he felt that there would be more of a chance for HAPPY WARRIOR to obtain cover than if were to be ridden to lead. He added it would be his intention in the future, wherever appropriate circumstances exist, to have the horse ridden from behind the speed as he believes that HAPPY WARRIOR is best suited when able to race with cover.
RULETHEROOST and HAPPY WARRIOR were sent for sampling.
<10/3/2019 6 March 2019 Happy Valley Racemeeting - Race 4 (473)>The Stewards today interviewed S de Sousa regarding the injury which led to him being stood down from riding at the Happy Valley racemeeting on Wednesday, 6 March 2019 after Race 4. S de Sousa stated that in Race 2 he became unbalanced after ALL BEST FRIENDS was bumped heavily by HERO TIME. He said after this he felt some minor discomfort but was able to continue riding. He said in this race when MR DARTHVEGAR began very awkwardly, it resulted in him again feeling some further discomfort during the race but nothing which restricted him in his riding out of that horse. He said MR DARTHVEGAR experienced difficulty obtaining clear running for the majority of the Straight when he attempted to improve inside CURLING LUXURY where there was tight room. He said although he was not able to test MR DARTHVEGAR in the Straight, this was not due to the subsequent lower back pain that he experienced on pulling up on MR DARTHVEGAR after the race.