Eric Saint-Martin received a severe reprimand but narrowly avoided a more serious charge when the inquiry into the running and handling of Viva Pataca concluded yesterday. Viva Pataca, winner of the Hong Kong Derby and Champions & Chater Cup last spring, resumed from a spell at Sha Tin on Sunday and flashed home late for fifth to Green Treasure after being held up for the first half of the home straight. Stewards opened an inquiry on the day and questioned Saint-Martin and trainer John Moore extensively before adjourning at 7pm. The questions resumed yesterday at Happy Valley at 9.30am. Ultimately, the stewards decided that Saint-Martin should not face a charge, but chose to issue the Frenchman with a 'severe reprimand'. 'The stewards, in the circumstances, believed jockey Saint-Martin held a reasonable expectation that [rival galloper and stablemate] Art Trader would improve its position in the early part of the straight and when this did not happen Viva Pataca was then held up,' Stier wrote in his report. 'It was decided... that Saint-Martin not be charged, however, he was severely reprimanded and told he must maintain an open mind to changing tactics when warranted at vital stages of the race.' Moore was told the evidence tendered by him had been 'recorded' rather than accepted. Owner Stanley Ho Hung-sun declared an inability to attend the inquiry but empowered Moore to act in all matters on his behalf. Going through the evidence, Stier reported that Saint-Martin said he had been instructed to ride Viva Pataca 'in the last three' during the race and save the horse to make its run in the home straight. The jockey explained that Viva Pataca began reasonably, then when being steadied [to follow instructions] got its head up and raced fiercely on a number of occasions. He said Viva Pataca travelled comfortably in a rearward position behind a suitable tempo and that approaching the 600m, he was satisfied to be following [favourite] Joyful Winner and Art Trader. Saint-Martin told the stewards he was concerned that if he were to shift to the outside of Art Trader at the top of the straight, Viva Pataca would not be able to sustain a finishing run all the way to the winning post. So instead, he endeavoured to have Viva Pataca carried forward into the race but soon found himself awkwardly placed inside the heels of Art Trader and following Hail The Storm. The jockey added that when clear running eventually presented itself on the outside of Hail The Storm at the 200m, he immediately shifted Viva Pataca out and the horse then finished the race off nicely.