Racing: Jockeys confused by false-start fiasco

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The Independent Online
JOCKEYS AND punters were bewildered by the start of the final race of the day at Chepstow yesterday. The five runners appeared to get away cleanly, but racegoers clearly heard first the racecourse judge, and then commentator Derek Thompson, say that a false start had taken place.

The riders could be seen talking among themselves in the early stages of the race, apparently unsure of what to do, but they elected to race on. At the end, 8-11 favourite Water Flower battled off Gypsy Hill in a driving finish.

But as soon as the race was over, the track stewards called an inquiry, with everyone left unsure as to whether the race would be declared void. But, after a short delay, it was announced that the result would stand, the stewards being "satisfied that the race had been started correctly".

As part of the inquiry, they interviewed the starter, the starter's signaller and the judge, and viewed a video recording of the start together with the announcement, and a confidential report will be sent to the Jockey Club.

Thompson, a presenter of Channel 4 Racing, added: "I heard the judge so I thought there must have been a false start and I called it too. But then they kept going and I couldn't believe it was happening. I was just passing on what I had heard, I'm completely innocent.''