Racing: New era signalled

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The Independent Online
THE MEN in white coats are going to save racing from a repeat of the Grand National fiasco. The coats, along with fluorescent flags and two-way radios are to become standard issue to the recall men whose job it is to stop runners after a false start.

Yesterday the Jockey Club announced stop-gap measures to improve start and recall procedures: the flagman is to be equipped with a radio set, so that he can hear if the starter's signaller announces a false start; and with a white coat and fluorescent flags to make him more visible.

As nothing can be taken for granted after Saturday, clerks of courses will have the task of ensuring that the flagmen not only has a radio but knows how to use it and that the jockeys can identify a flagman when they see one.

Meanwhile Zeta's Lad, whose trainer, John Upson, was among the most visibly upset by Saturday's shambles, is to go for next Monday's Irish National after all. Upson had considered withdrawing the horse after receiving death threats because of uncomplimentary comments he made about Ireland in a television interview.