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Pied Piper appeal against Aintree demotion fails

An appeal against the demotion of Gordon Elliott’s Pied Piper in the Grade One Jewson Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree has been dismissed by an independent panel.

The horse and Milton Harris’ Knight Salute were initially regarded to have dead-heated in the two-mile-one-furlong affair, but a stewards’ inquiry was then called into interference suffered by Knight Salute over the final flight.

Pied Piper, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell, drifted towards the left on the approach to the last hurdle, straying into the path of Paddy Brennan and Knight Salute and forcing them off their line.

Brennan was pushed left for three strides before pulling his whip through into his left hand and straightening his mount, who then rallied to the line and passed the post exactly level with Pied Piper.

The stewards later chose to demote Pied Piper as a result of the interference, making Knight Salute the outright winner of the race despite Brennan stating explicitly that his chances had not been hampered.

Andrew and Gemma Brown, owners of Pied Piper under the Caldwell Construction banner, opted to appeal the demotion and were represented by Rory Mac Neice as the British Horseracing Authority case was put forward by Louis Weston.

A three-person panel comprising of HH Philip Curl, Ian Stark OBE and Steve Winfield heard evidence and submissions from both parties, with Russell appearing virtually from Nashville ahead of his ride aboard Nicky Henderson’s Pistol Whipped at Percy Warner Park on Saturday.

After a brief deliberation the panel chose to dismiss the appeal and adhere to the initial findings of the stewards’ inquiry, leaving Knight Salute the winner of the race and Pied Piper the runner-up.

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