Racing: National debate revived

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The Independent Online
A NEW twist was added to the tale of the 1993 Grand National last night as fresh film evidence revealed that Ken Evans, the recall flagman, did at one stage raise his red flag to signal a false start.

Evans, the pounds 28-a-day flagman who was largely blamed for the National fiasco, has always maintained that he put his flag up after both of the false starts at Aintree in April.

But the official three-man inquiry into the Aintree fiasco, headed by High Court Judge Sir Michael Connell, insisted he had not. It now seems that Evans was half-right.

A BBC film shot overhead and not available to the inquiry committee clearly shows that after the first false start, Evans waved his flag at waist height, although six or seven of the 39 runners were already beyond him.

Two films from the BBC and Racecourse technical services of the second false start - which turned into a shambles with some horses going on to complete the course - show Evans walking away towards the rails with the flag at his side. At no point can he be seen to raise it.

Stan Mellor, one of the Committee's members, admitted that the Committee had not seen the video of the first start, showing Evans raising his flag, while compiling its report.

'But the report still holds good,' Mellor said. 'Some of the runners had already gone ahead of Mr Evans' position before he gave the recall signal. It was too late and, accordingly, it wasn't a start.'