Sir Henry Cecil's Chachamaidee notched her first group I win when the stewards awarded her the victory over Duntle in the $245,500 Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown Sept. 8.
The 5-year-old daughter of Footstepsinthesand had actually finished a short head behind Duntle in a four-horse blanket finish that also involved last year's winner, Emulous, and the French stakes winner Laugh Out Loud. Final time for eight furlongs was 1:37.58 over the good turf course.
After a 20-minute inquiry, stewards ruled that Duntle had started a chain reaction of bumping when jockey Wayne Lordan attempted to send his filly through a small gap between horses about two furlongs from the wire. Duntle bumped Alanza, who in turn interfered with Chachamaidee, who was making a move on the outside under Tom Queally. As a result, Duntle was disqualified and placed second behind Chachamaidee. Lordan also received a two-day suspension.
A field of 11 fillies and mares went to the post in the Matron, with Dermot Weld's Emulous sent off as the favorite. Soon after the start, Prix de Sandringham (Fr-II) winner Laugh Out Loud took the lead under Johnny Murtagh, followed by the Aidan O'Brien pair of After and Maybe. Duntle and Emulous were next, with Chachamaidee content to race toward the rear of the field early on.
Laugh Out Loud continued to hold a slight lead as the field entered the home straight, but Emulous was edging closer, overtaking Maybe and moving into second. Chachamaidee was in full flight on the far outside and was closing ground with every stride, but Queally was forced to check slightly on her as Duntle pushed Alanza out into her path two furlongs from the line. Chachamaidee quickly regained her momentum but couldn't quite overtake Duntle in a frenzied finish.
After the race, Queally was certain the stewards made the right decision. "I think it cost her and the margin of victory—a short head—shows that. She's been knocking on the door lately and deserved to win here.
"It's not the way you want to win a race," Queally continued. "I intentionally pulled her clear to avoid all this scrimmaging and argy-bargy. It's unfortunate when you go out of your way to get a clear run and something happens anyway."
The victory was the seventh in 20 career starts for Chachamaidee, who has now finished in the money 15 times. Chachamaidee is owned by R.A.H. Evans, and was bred in Ireland by Cheval Court Stud. The bay mare is out of the unraced Danehill mare, Canterbury Lace, who is half sister to Virginia Waters, winner of the 2005 One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I).