Stipes losing their stripes

Robin Parke

THE Stipendiary Stewards panel of the Jockey Club should still be red-faced this morning after a slip-shod performance yesterday when inquiring into the dramatic fall of King Prawn at Happy Valley on Wednesday.

The original inquiry was adjourned so that evidence could be taken from Gerald Mosse, who ended up in hospital with a broken collarbone.

However, Mosse departed, with official permission, to France on Friday night for further medical treatment.

Whether that could have been delayed another day is not for us to say, but it is surely self-evident that a statement should have been taken from the rider.

As it was, the inquiry opened after the Stewards had asked the other riders involved if they were prepared to continue in Mosse's absence. They agreed but this definitely smacked of buck-passing.

Having viewed the patrol film, the Stewards then charged Declan Murphy with careless riding - much to the amazement and then annoyance of the Irish-American.

Faced with the likelihood of a five-day ban, Murphy requested that Mosse be called to give evidence - as it would clearly be pertinent to points he was making in his defence.

The inquiry has been adjourned until a date to be fixed - which may give the panel time to reflect on how not to do things.

THERE are seven nerve-wracking days ahead for trainer Alex Wong Yu-on, who has Derby favourite Deerfield in his care. Well, sort of, as the horse is actually stabled with Peter Ng Bik-kuen.

The aluminium bar plate with which Deerfield should be hoofed for the Classic is due to arrive on Tuesday and the trainer will be waiting anxiously to see if he gets permission for the plate to be fixed.

It isn't all that much fun being a trainer - as Alex will tell you.

When he looks in the mirror these days he just keeps seeing more grey hairs.

''It's a great job when things are going well but it can be very ordinary when they're not,'' he said.

And he came off with one of the better quotes heard recently. ''I was watching the Queen on television the other day and she talked about her horrible year. What about me?'' he queried.

CASPER Fownes has a ready eye for a horse as those who know him well will testify. And he's got a good memory, too.

It was put to the test yesterday when Fownes answered a call from Asia's finest to attend an identity parade at Wong Tai Sin Police Station.

Reason for that was the attack on young Casper four years ago. Those with longer memories may recall he was stabbed in the racecourse complex in a daytime attack.

Police arrested a final suspect late last week and asked Fownes to make a positive identification from a line-up. And he did, too.

''It was a longish time ago but it is not something you forget and I was running it through in my mind on the way to the police station,'' he said. ''And I recognised him all right - immediately.''