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
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

Secondary Japanese Teacher, January 2015 - China

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Secondary Japanese TeacherRequ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes