Racing: The race that had no winner

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WAS THIS the worst horse race ever? The world of racing, used to dealing in winners and losers, had a rare no-score draw when a steeplechase at a Yorkshire point-to-point became the race with no winner. Now they know how it feels at Goodison Park.

The opening contest at Sunday's Badsworth meeting, on a custom-made course on the inside of Wetherby racecourse, attracted just two runners, the veteran 13-year-old My True Clown, honest but slow, and the ex-Irish eight-year-old Can I Come Too, who had fallen twice and been pulled up (he got so far behind his rider decided it was "pointless" to continue) in his four runs in his native land.

My True Clown soon lived up to his reputation for coming off the bridle in the paddock, leading only as far as the third fence, from which point Can I Come Too overtook his rival. My True Clown plugged on gallantly, but, despite the slow pace, found it increasingly difficult to remain within the same postal district as the leader. Louise Hampshire, his rider, gave up the ghost and pulled him up at the fourth-last fence, half a mile from home.

However, Can I Come Too failed to profit. The horse refused to jump the next obstacle - the third last - and, despite the best efforts of jockey Ian Bennett, declined to negotiate the fence on any of Bennett's three subsequent attempts.

The race was therefore abandoned and all bets - bookmakers act on the principle `if you can't win, you can't lose' - were returned. So, if you ever go for a day at the races, don't forget to ask the bookies to quote you a price about the draw.

Racing, page 24