Topless embarrassment for Davies

Jockey falls off just yards from victory to leave punters in despair

An old grey mare called Topless finished riderless in the Carlsberg UK Handicap Chase at Taunton yesterday to leave her jockey, James Davies, probably the most embarrassed rider in the weighing room for some time.

The 24-year-old jockey had driven Topless into the lead at the third-last fence and jumped the last with a four-length advantage. Topless then started to extend her lead, but also veered towards the entrance to the parade ring on the run-in. She jinked to her left and then she jinked to her right and as Davies tried to correct her manoeuvre he suddenly found himself with no horse underneath him and gravity took over.

The horse's trainer, the Dorset-based Neil Mulholland is in his first season with a licence and has already sent out 11 winners. "I was walking down from the stand, thinking 'this is No12', when I looked up and saw James come off," Mulholland said.

Some trainers,and certainly some owners, would exclaim a condemning "that jockey will never ride for me again" utterance in such circumstances, but Mulholland was rather more philosophical. "I've been a jockey myself, and I know what it can be like. You have good days and bad days in this game and this was one of the bad ones. But everybody makes mistakes and nobody died.

"James gave her a superb ride until the final five or six strides. He just said one word when he came back in, 'sorry'. The owners are good racing people and they've given him no hassle. Certainly he'll ride for me again."

It has not been a fortunate season for Topless, who was brought down in one race and badly hampered in another. After composing himself, Davies was able to add: "She has had plenty of bad luck and didn't put a foot wrong all the way round. She jumped brilliant. I'm gutted for everybody involved.

"Neil Mulholland has been a big supporter of mine and that would have been my first winner for him. On the run-in she was heading left towards the parade ring so I pulled my stick through to give her a smack on the left side and she has then gone the other way and I lost my balance."

Victory on the eight-year-old mare would have been a fourth success of the season for Davies, who has recorded only 22 wins in the last five years.

He is certainly not the first jockey to fall from his perch in such circumstances. Even the great Lester Piggott came off a horse called Campanologist at Windsor when the jockey was at the height of his powers in the 1970s.

And there are of course a variety of ways in which jockeys can make fools of themselves in a race. The most common is failing to familiarise themselves with the track layout and thus taking the wrong course, or riding a finish a circuit too early, or simply mistaking the location of the winning post.

Davies' fall to earth from Topless left another 9-2 chance, Pangbourne to come home a distance clear of the rest, a result which proved costly for two betting syndicates as they missed out on the Tote's Super7 prize. The two ticket holders would have scooped £194,126 apiece if Topless and Davies had remained a partnership.

For some, the result brought a windfall. Two Irish bookmaking firms have promised to pay out on both horses and for those gamblers who bet in running on exchanges the result produced a massive payout. Seven Betfair punters managed to back Pangbourne at 999-1. One customer scooped most of it, placing £111 at 999-1 and winning £111,677.07 on the race.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Kate's Gift

(Catterick 2.10)

NB: Strabinios King

(Lingfield 2.55)

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015