Bleeding ends Fastabob's Derby hopes

EXPENSIVE Australian import Fastabob was yesterday ruled out of the Derby in a traumatic day's racing at Sha Tin that also left the legendary Lester Piggott nursing three stitches above his left eye and uncertain whether to ride at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

The much-vaunted Fastabob, rated the best horse to leave Australia to race in Hongkong, had no sooner underlined his Derby claims by outclassing his opposition in yesterday's fourth event than disaster struck.

''He was fine when we pulled up as I had a look down and checked,'' said rider Darren Beadman. ''But when we got back into the enclosure there was a trickle of blood from one nostril.'' Under Jockey Club Rules any horse that bleeds has to have a mandatory two months off from track work and cannot race for at least three months from the day of the attack.

''That rules Fastabob out for the season,'' said champion trainer John Moore who went on to call for trainers to be allowed to work horses on Lasix - the drug that helps to curb such bleeding in Thoroughbreds.

''We will give him a long rest and should he show signs of bleeding again I may even speak to the Jockey Club and his owner about allowing him to race in America where Lasix is permitted.'' Meanwhile, Piggott celebrated his first Hongkong winner since 1986 on his old pal Ivan Allan's So Easy in the sixth, only to receive a painful blow in the face from the appropriately named Beat The Up in the last.

''He was playing around in front of the weighing room on the way to the start. His head came up and cracked me across the eye,'' said Piggott.

''I will have to think about riding on Wednesday. I don't know yet. I will see how things are tomorrow.''