Grade 1 glory for Milton Harris as Knight Salute wins a sixth time
Multiple graded hurdle winner Knight Salute found the Triumph Hurdle too hot last month, but put matters to rights in a terrific finish to the Jewson Anniversary 4 Year Old Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree yesterday to earn his trainer a long overdue Grade I triumph.
In an incident-packed race, Knight Salute was carried left at the last by Gordon Elliott's Pied Piper, third behind Vauban at Cheltenham. The two passed the post separated by a hair's breadth, but the stewards opted to award the race to the Wiltshire horse following the interference at the last.
Milton Harris has enjoyed an outstanding season, with many personal bests, several of which can be attributed to the robust little horse that is Knight Salute. Whilst few horses deserve to lose a race in the Stewards' Room, a Grade I triumph was well overdue for this little trier.
Reported in the Racing Post, Knight Salute's rider Paddy Brennan told the panel that the interference had not altered the result but the stewards ultimately disagreed and gave Brennan and Knight Salute the race.
"To be honest, I didn't feel a lot. Davy [Russell] has obviously got to the front and he's had a look at the last and my horse has reacted to that and jumped to the inside," Brennan told the stewards. "I was always happy to go for that rail, so I don't think it affected my finishing position to be honest."
He continued: "It was cat and mouse. I didn't want to help Davy Russell, I wanted to be using him as a line and then from the last I was always going to make a manoeuvre to get my run. So whether he jumped left or right, I was always going to be happy to stay behind him until then."
BHA's Head of Stewarding, Shaun Parker, added, "In this particular case the stewards took the view that Mr Brennan's mount was obviously finishing a lot better than Mr Russell's mount and, having jumped the last, if you look at the line that Mr Brennan's mount had come to take the jump in, and with Mr Russell's mount having jumped left and impeding him and taking him off his line, that that loss of ground to the left when he was taken off his intended line was enough to convince us that he improved his position based on the fact it was a dead-heat and a little bit of interference can have a material effect on the result."