Bank Holiday Monday did not go according to plan so James Eustace would like to issue the following statement:-
"Monday certainly did not turn out as I had hoped when I set off for Warwick races! I left thinking we had a sporting chance of having a double.
In the event DUNOWEN ran well at Fakenham finishing third but possibly hit the front too soon.
LOCAL FANCY who ran at Warwick had been working well at home and I felt that if she ran the way she had been working recently then we were in with a good chance of having a winner. She has not been an easy filly to break in and train, however, the staff here at Park Lodge have done a great job in getting her to the races so early in the season with the likelihood of running well.
As a team, because she has been a temperamental filly in training, we tried to cover all the "bases". Jim Parker, who has played such a significant part in her early education, and who is extremely experienced, led her up for me and Linsey Sharpe, the travelling head girl and who actually looks after the filly at home, went all the way down to the start so that a friendly face was there when the filly arrived in order to lead her around and keep her calm. I decided to book Shane Kelly to ride her because not only is he a good jockey but he is a first class horseman, which I felt was particularly important with this filly. We took all of these precautions to give her every chance of running to the best of her ability.
My instructions to Shane were that the filly had been working well at home and that in my assessment she had been working well enough to have a winning chance. The filly was well behaved at the start but unfortunately she was drawn to be the first to load into the stalls. She was therefore waiting in the stalls whilst the others were being loaded. As a result of having to wait for the others to load, particularly bearing in mind she was only a youngster having her first run, she dwelt on leaving the stalls and to compound the problem, Shane lost his left iron at the same time. Shane performed an impressive feat of horsemanship by keeping the filly in a straight line whilst regaining his iron, however, by the time he had got the filly reorganised, the leaders had gained an advantage. Shane, in accordance with his obligations under the Rules of Racing, gave her a good hands and heels ride to finish a creditable fourth.
The welfare of all of the horses that we depend upon is rightly seen as of paramount importance across the entire industry. It was vital to this filly's welfare that she was given the opportunity to recover from her bad start and to get into as balanced a rhythm as possible so that she could run to the best of her ability. From the film, it is clear she ran very green in the straight and shied away from the sticks of jockeys racing close to her. I have absolutely no doubt that the filly would not have run as well as she did (after such a disappointing start) if Shane had resorted to the stick and given her a hard ride. It is clear from the film that it was his horsemanship that enabled the filly to run as well as she did by allowing her the chance to recover from her bad start and to get her in a rhythm taking into account her obvious greenness (which was reported in the next days Racing Post) which in turn gave her confidence.
Both myself and the owner were very pleased with the horse's run and the ride Shane gave her and we felt that had she broken on terms she would very nearly have won the race although she was very green in the straight.
I was genuinely amazed to find myself in the middle of a Stewards' enquiry into her running and riding, the outcome of which is now on record. Both Shane and myself have appealed against the Stewards' decision which we both feel very strongly was wrong. In all the years that I have been training, I have never been accused of not trying with a horse and as with all my horses, LOCAL FANCY was doing her very best. We had brought additional people to the races in order to give her a chance, I even went as far as having our vet scope her on the Friday before the race just to ensure that she was clear. We are not a betting stable and we have always prided ourselves on producing every horse we run to do its very best in every race.
Both Shane and I hope that the Disciplinary Committee (who will not be under the same time pressures as the local Stewards) will see the race for what it is, a very young and green filly being given a horseman's ride in order to achieve her best possible placing.