A stable mix-up has resulted in trainer Tony Millard being fined HK$30,000 after a mafoo applied ice to the legs of Bear Elite within two hours of a race, breaching the rules and resulting in the horse being scratched last Sunday.
At an inquiry yesterday, Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards accepted Millard had not directed the attendant stables assistant to treat Bear Elite's legs before the running of the Mediterranean Sea Handicap. They agreed he was simply following the daily, non race-day, procedure of placing the horse's fore legs in buckets of ice water.
It was a breach of Regulation 119 (p) of the Trainers' Handbook, which states that horses may not be treated within two hours of a race.
Millard was charged under Rule 50 (2) " … of having failed in his responsibility for all matters pertaining to the running of his stable including the work of the stable staff allocated to him".
Meanwhile, Lucky Nine has been given the all clear to travel to fly to Singapore for next week's Group One KrisFlyer International Sprint at Kranji after passing an official veterinary examination.
The Caspar Fownes-trained six-year-old, who has a history of internal issues, was found to have a substantial amount of blood in his trachea after finishing seventh in the Group Two Sprint Cup two weeks ago.
Lucky Nine was given steady fast-work with stablemate Dance For Gold on the all-weather track at Sha Tin yesterday, after which he was scoped by the club's regulatory vets.
"Everything seems good and we fly out early on Sunday morning," said Fownes, whose seasoned international traveller will share a flight with John Moore-trained pair Military Attack and Dan Excel.
Lucky Nine has been disappointing since winning the Group One Chairman's Sprint Prize in February. But Fownes believes his four-time Group One winner will bounce back, and said he was happy with a three-week gap heading into the S$1 million (HK$6.3 million) race, which the trainer won with Green Birdie in 2010.
"He didn't need a trial in that time because he has been racing, so he is fit, but he will still go into the race a fresh horse," he said.