Racing: Wrong track fiasco as seven riders are banned

At Ludlow yesterday it was not so much Mr Buttons having to look behind as pay attention in front. Racing's early embracement of the panto season continued when, for the second time this week, a race degenerated into farce as a clutch of jockeys took the wrong course. After the opening selling hurdle, seven of the 14 runners were disqualified, including the second, third and fourth home, and their riders banned for 19 days each.

The fiasco began in what could have proved serious circumstances. Claimer Claire Stretton took a horrible fall at the first flight and the obstacle, the first of three in the home straight, was dolled off when it should have been the third last next time, as the stricken girl received medical attention.

Off the final bend at the right-handed Shropshire track, the chase course hugs the infield rail. Runners in hurdle races are required to swing wider and leave a running rail that guides them to the hurdles course on their right. As the remaining field in yesterday's contest came back towards the stands, the clear leaders Diamond Orchid and Seraph charged round the home turn on the chase course and stayed there, towing Golden Fields in their wake.

As that trio headed down the obviously wrong course, with the fluorescent-jacketed paramedics in their path on the chase track, to the right of the hurdle where Stretton had been thrown, opinion behind them became divided as to where to go.

Three horses - first-past-the-post Dream Falcon and trailers La Rose and Margaret's Wish - swung onto the hurdles track and correctly bypassed the obstacle to its left, as the instructions posted in the weighing room and the black-and-white chevrons on the hurdle itself indicated. Four others - Triumph of Dubai, Blue Savanna, Craigmor and Sigwells Club Boy - swung onto the hurdles track and then veered right-handed through a gap in the running rail back onto the chase track, once again imperilling the medical staff.

Dream Falcon ridden by the experienced Rodi Greene, was the winner on merit, staying on well to come home in front of Diamond Orchid, Triumph of Dubai and Golden Fields. Inevitably, the last three-named were thrown out, with La Rose and Margaret's Wish, ridden by another pair of seasoned seniors, Robert Thornton and Carl Llewellyn respectively, promoted to the placings as the only other official finishers.

The seven riders punished were Marcus Foley (Triumph of Dubai), Timmy Murphy (Blue Savanna), Mark Nicolls (Craigmor), James Davies (Seraph), Paddy Brennan (Sigwells Club Boy), Antony Evans (Diamond Orchid) and Gabriel Hannon (Golden Fields). All bar Foley and Murphy are conditional jockeys of varying degrees of experience.

Their disqualifications were levied under the rule which covers negligence, 12 days for taking the wrong course and an additional seven for failing to pull up after having done so. The bans start on 29 December, 11 days after the offence under a new ruling which kicked in yesterday. Had the time-lapse been the old nine days, Murphy would have missed his plum ride on Beef Or Salmon at Leopardstown on 28 December.

Happily, Stretton regained consciousness before she was taken from the course by ambulance, although she was kept in hospital overnight.

This latest bungle follows four days after an incident at Towcester, in which the first five finishers in an amateur riders' chase were disqualified after their riders went the wrong side of an isolated wing.

John Maxse, director of public relations for the Jockey Club, commented: "It is very disappointing and frustrating that this unfortunate incident has occurred. The fact that the jockeys were all given 19-day suspensions demonstrates how the Ludlow stewards concluded that there were not the mitigating circumstances (low sun), which enabled the amateurs involved in taking the wrong course at Towcester to escape a ban.

"The map in the weighing room was correctly marked and clearly showed that the hurdles in the home straight should be bypassed on the left - the stands' side. The procedures for bypassing a fence were also correctly carried out by the Ludlow officials. Three senior riders were in no doubt about what course to take."

While gambling is by definition risky, punters may feel they have a right to a certain degree of professionalism. The display by the Ludlow seven begs the question that if an electrician (say) employed to do a job evinced a similar level of incompetence, would he be paid?

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Ballyrobert

(Ascot 2.05)

NB: Albuhera

(Ascot 3.40)

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk