Connections of Protektorat are to appeal the decision of the stewards at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day to demote the Dan Skelton-trained gelding from first place in the Listed Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
The 15-2 chance passed the post a head in front of Imperial Alcazar in the race that opened the card, but the stewards reversed the placings, judging interference had taken place at a ‘critical point in the race’.
Protektorat was ridden by Harry Skelton, who told Grosvenorsport.com: “On the day I was very surprised to lose the race, as were quite a lot of other people who I spoke to.
“We jumped the last a neck up and he then stayed on really well up the hill which was good on his first start over this trip.
“He is owned by the Hales family, my sponsor Ged Mason and Sir Alex Ferguson who are all great supporters of ours. They want to appeal the result, which I think is totally understandable, so we’re going down to the BHA next week.”
He added: “Ultimately this horse is a three-mile staying chaser in the making, but we’ll have a look at the other Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Trial on Trials Day at the end of the month.
“The Ballymore itself now looks a realistic target in March (Cheltenham Festival).”