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)

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice