Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Eagle gives Butler a huge lift

Gerard Butler
Gerard Butler

Newmarket trainer Gerard Butler enjoyed a brief moment of respite in what has been a season to forget when Zain Eagle bolted up in the SIS Live Maiden Stakes at Ripon.

Butler is currently embroiled in the long-running Sungate scandal and still awaits notification from the British Horseracing Authority of a date for his hearing, at which he could face a lengthy suspension, after nine of his horses tested positive for the product, which contains the prohibited anabolic steroid stanozolol, having been treated for joint problems.

In addition to the horses testing positive, Butler admitted administering injections himself.

Zain Eagle, who was one of the nine horses involved, was making his first start of the season and routed his rivals by nine lengths and more.

A clearly emotional Butler said after the 7-2 success: "It's been a pretty tricky time but at least I can go home with a smile on my face.

"This horse hasn't been able to run as he's been caught up in the Sungate issue (banned from running).

"He's been ready to go for a while and has been training well the last few weeks.

"We've obviously been slow this season but hopefully in the next few weeks we'll be back up to normal."

The valuable Ripon Rowels Handicap must be in danger of being renamed after the Michael Dods-trained Osteopathic Remedy took the spoils for the fourth time in six years.

Incredibly, he was third and fourth in the renewals he failed to win and his owner Kevin Kirkup thinks the nine-year-old is getting better with age.

Surprisingly sent off at 10-1 he came home two lengths clear of the gallant Robert The Painter with Captain Bertie an eyecatching third.

Kirkup said of his Connor Beasley-ridden winner: "He must be a legend.

"I was doing a rain dance Thursday, Friday and Saturday but when it stopped I thought we were in trouble and it would be too quick.

"On paper that was his toughest race and I shouldn't say it but I think he's getting better with age.

"His record here is untouchable but I didn't think he'd win today."

Richard Fahey's Supplicant looked the class act on paper before the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy 2013 and so it proved.

Owned by Cheveley Park Stud, he had made rather hard work of winning a two-runner affair at 1-20 at the last meeting but with more horses to race against he looked much more the finished article.

Placed at Royal Ascot and unlucky at Glorious Goodwood, Supplicant justified even-money favouritism by two and three-quarter lengths from Riverboat Springs.

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