Ashburton trainer Duncan Howells had his feature victory celebrations dampened at Greyville on Wednesday when the Stipes withdrew sensational Listed KZN Stakes winner Neptune’s Rain’s starting stall certificate.
Howells expressed his disappointment with what he felt was a lack of discretion and flexibility shown, given the special circumstances of the double delay of the feature.
“These are sprinting fillies. The race was delayed ten days. They are naturally going to be slightly above themselves. I could see on the way to the start that Neptune’s Rain was above herself. The fillies were dripping with sweat at the start. We have also not been able to get much work into them. There was a delay with a shoe issue at the start and a troublesome filly drawn near the rail. Neptune’s Rain was forced to stand for a while. She did rear in her gate but loaded like a lamb with the hood. She has ten runs under the belt and has had no issues at the start. I feel that no discretion is being shown,“ he said following the withdrawal of the stalls certificate.
The official Stipes report states that in view of the Starter’s Report concerning NEPTUNE’S RAIN (A Marcus) this filly has been suspended in terms of Rule 61.6.10 for a period of 7 days and thereafter until such time as it is recertified tractable with a companion. Suspension dates : 18.4.2018 – 24.4.2018. This filly may not be presented during this period.
Howells said that as a trainer, who had to answer to the owner and keep his business going, he would always be the first person keen to ensure that his filly was schooled properly.
“Every time a horse is withdrawn at the start or suspended, everybody loses. For the owner – who with our punters pays the salaries of trainers, jockeys, grooms, stipes, vets and the rest – it’s a case of a horse not earning and standing in the box and costing money. The industry needs to start working together – not against each other. If owners don’t invest, there will be no horses to punt on and we will all be out of work. Attitudes need to change – fast!”
Howells confirmed that Neptune’s Rain was on track to run in the Poinsettia Stakes in ten days time.