Racing: Club calls halt to starting-poles trial

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CALL it another example of the Jockey Club getting things wrong, but it would be kinder and probably more accurate to describe yesterday's decision to scrap the use of starting poles, introduced as a result of the Grand National fiasco, as an example of the willingness of racing's rule makers to listen to reason, writes John Cobb.

In an attempt to improve the start procedure, horses began to line up at poles, five yards behind the tape, on 1 November. This measure was introduced on a trial basis and the trial has failed. From Monday, the practice will be discontinued.

David Pipe, the Jockey Club's public affairs manager, said: 'Most courses, officials and jockeys have agreed that the poles simply haven't worked. Jockeys have simply treated them like going through an amber light and they haven't really improved the problems.

'What the new procedure has done, though, is concentrate the minds of everyone. Jockeys now understand the problems they are going to experience at the start.'

The John Edwards-trained Tinas Lad has been found to have run under the influence of a banned substance, isoxsuprine, when winning at Newton Abbot on 1 September.