Deferred ban keeps Cheng in title hunt

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 12:00am

Leading apprentice Philip Cheng lives to fight for the claimers' title despite last night incurring a careless riding ban during an inquiry adjourned from Saturday's Sha Tin meeting.

Cheng was adjudged to have infringed on the Alex Wong Siu-tan-trained Billion Delight, who took Dancing Spirit across the track in the final event won by Don Sebastian. Cheng and Billion Delight started their run down the centre of the track and, with Cheng using his whip in his right hand (when it should have been the left), clearly took Dancing Spirit across to the grandstand rail and cost him a realistic winning chance.

But Cheng, attached to John Moore's stable, had his suspension deferred until after Sunday's final meeting of the season which allows him to try to bridge the one-winner gap on top claimer Howard Cheng.

The suspension will last until July 13 and does mean that Cheng misses riding engagements in England, where he will be staying with southern trainer Gary Moore during the close season.

In other news yesterday, Peter Chapple-Hyam's numbers dwindled further with the loss of three more horses, while items of departing champion Basil Marcus' riding gear will be auctioned for charity after Sunday's final event.