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Knight Salute lands dramatic Juvenile Hurdle after stewards’ inquiry

Knight Salute was awarded a dramatic Jewson Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle by the stewards at Aintree after initially dead-heating with Pied Piper

Pied Piper, third in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, was sent off the 10-11 favourite to get back to winning ways and certainly brought the strongest form to the table.

Knight Salute (14-1) has been a revelation this season for his resurgent trainer Milton Harris, but had finished well beaten at Cheltenham, some 17 lengths behind Pied Piper.

That looked an outlier, though, as prior to that he had won his other five races this season, including two Grade Twos, and he was right back to his best on this occasion.

Paddy Brennan had clearly decided to play his hand last of all, and he tracked Davy Russell on the Gordon Elliott-trained market leader for the whole race.

Approaching the last Russell must have felt he had matters in hand as he had not asked a single question – but Pied Piper did not jump the final flight well and gave Knight Salute a nudge, which caused a stewards’ inquiry to be called after the long wait for the initial photo to be announced.

Despite the coming together at the last, Knight Salute was able to edge in front on the run-in, only for Pied Piper to battle back and claim a share of the spoils right on the line – or so it seemed.

A lengthy inquiry followed and even though Brennan told the stewards he felt the contact did not affect the result and he was happy with the outcome, the officials disagreed which meant Harris had landed his first Grade One winner to cap a great season.

The Boodles winner Brazil checked out on the run to the last and was beaten 12 lengths back in third.

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