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The controversial owner of Diore Lia, a rank outsider for Saturday’s Derby until her late withdrawal, has now made the extraordinary claim that she was nobbled. Richard Aylward, whose filly was described as having a pulled muscle on Saturday morning, appears convinced that someone deliberately inflicted the injury on his horse.

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“In my opinion someone has given the horse a terrible belt with a piece of wood or something,” Aylward said on Monday. “Somebody has done it in the middle of the night, whoever they are. One person or two persons have got into her box. Wings Of Eagles stuns rivals to win the Derby as 40-1 outsider Read more “I went up to see her on Sunday morning. She was very, very stiff and carrying the leg [holding it off the floor]. It’s not just a lameness. The horse has been injured, simple as that, and she didn’t do it to herself. It’s a billion to one that this has happened to such a famous horse on the night before the Derby.” Aylward is prepared to make outlandish suggestions about who he believes to be responsible for doing such a thing but readily admits he has no evidence. He exonerates Diore Lia’s trainer, the Royston-based John Jenkins, who continues to believe the horse has sustained nothing more than a pulled muscle according to Aylward. “I have my own theories but the horse was nobbled; there’s no question about that,” Aylward said. “It’s so frustrating when we were just trying to raise a bit of money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.” Aylward had promised that any prize money won would go to GOSH and arranged for an online collection for the hospital. It had raised around £440 by Saturday morning but he believes much more would have been donated in the hours leading up to the race, had the filly been able to run. “I don’t think it’s career-ending,” Aylward said of the injury. “But how coincident for it to happen on the morning of the Derby. She went into her box on Friday morning after cantering, perfect. The horse is so docile, so well-natured ... she wouldn’t have banged against a wall or anything like that. She’s lazy as hell. She wouldn’t go lame in the box by herself. “The horse was tampered with in my opinion and I will think that till the day I die. It’s very, very sad.” A spokesman for the British Horseracing Authority, advised of Aylward’s words, said: “Should any individual have any evidence to support such allegations, we would ask that they come forward and present this evidence to the BHA.”

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Aylward, however, is not on good terms with the BHA after the events of last week, which began with the ruling body saying there was no rule to prevent the inexperienced apprentice Gina Mangan from taking the ride on Diore Lia. By Wednesday the BHA had found just such a rule and forced Aylward to choose another jockey for his horse, rated a 1,000-1 chance by bookmakers. Racing news and tips: Gina Mangan refused entry to the Derby Read more “The girl is scarred,” Aylward said on Monday. “All the hype, for them to go and do that ... I told them, you could have let her ride and then change the rule afterwards. She’s the nicest girl I’ve ever met in my life, an absolute gem.” Aylward added he was outraged to learn that the BHA had also discussed whether it could or should prevent Diore Lia from taking part in the Derby. The BHA said on Monday that it could have used the same discretionary powers which it applied in Mangan’s case to prevent any horse from lining up, if it felt that was necessary. However, it concluded there would have been no justification for stopping Diore Lia from running, for all that her form showed her to be some way short of ordinary Derby quality. Advertisement Aylward spent 15 years on British racing’s forfeit list until March of this year, as the result of a debt dating from 2002. The reason for the debt has been the subject of conflicting reports since Saturday but Aylward says it was owed to racing’s ruling body, which was then the British Horseracing Board, as an entry fee to the Derby for a horse called Cast The Net. That horse missed his Derby chance because he was gelded the month before the race, which Aylward said took place without his consent. In the circumstances he felt he should not have been asked to pay the horse’s entry fee but he did eventually do so over a period of months. The Diore Lia saga prompted a debate about whether there should be a minimum rating or other qualification to prevent no-hopers from taking part in the Derby and perhaps causing trouble in running for legitimate contenders. The BHA said that, even before the controversies of last week, the issue was being considered in relation to all major Flat races by the Flat Pattern Committee. “The initial decision was that it is an issue that merits further consideration,” a spokesman said, “and so it will be picked up again in the near future, with the events of last week adding further food for thought for Authentic Devonta Freeman Womens Jersey those discussions.” A complicating factor with the Derby is that the initial entries are made more than a year in advance, so that entries have already been made for next year’s race and any change would therefore probably not take effect until the 2019 running. “It is impossible at this stage to speculate as to what will come of those conversations,” the spokesman said, “as they are at a very early stage, and the nature of the Derby and that the entry process begins so early are obviously factors that need to be taken into consideration as those conversations develop


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