Ascot: Final-fence drama and near collision on eventful afternoon

Capeland (left) and Diego Du Charmil at the final fence at Ascot
Capeland (left) is forced into a change of course that resulted in disqualification

There were two unusual incidents during Saturday's seven-race card at Ascot.

In the Byrne Group Handicap Chase, Paul Nicholls-trained stablemates Diego Du Charmil and Capeland approached the final fence together.

Diego Du Charmil veered sharply to the left in front of his rival, dislodging the plastic wing framing the fence.

Capeland was forced through a gap left between the fence and the wing and was disqualified after an inquiry, but Diego Du Charmil's win was upheld.

The seven-year-old went on to beat Clondaw Castle by half a length.

Bryony Frost, riding Capeland, was brought to a standstill because of Diego Du Charmil's sudden change of direction and had no option than to squeeze through the impromptu opening.

She resumed and guided her horse to fifth but stipendiary steward Simon Cowley said: "What we found was that the winner did jump the fence - not in the normal manner or the normal part - so the winner keeps the race.

"The other horse unfortunately couldn't [jump], so we had to disqualify that horse as it hadn't jumped."

Winning jockey Lorcan Williams said: "I've never seen [anything] like that, or ridden one like it. We've gone in between the wings, and we've jumped the fence. I jumped the biggest part of the fence, between the wings."

Remarkably there was another notable moment in the feature Sodexo Gold Cup, when a member of the course's groundstaff narrowly avoided a collision with the front-running Go Conquer.

Attending to the turf with a fork, he was oblivious to the horses thundering towards him in the three-mile handicap chase and managed to move out of the way with seconds to spare.

David Bass, who rode the winner Vinndication, said: "Me and Tom Bellamy [jockey of Go Conquer] were screaming at them. Luckily they heard us at the last minute but it was not a nice moment."

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