Starter at fault as runner left behind

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The Independent Online
The experienced starter John Leech faces possible disciplinary action after failing to spot that a horse had not been loaded into the stalls when starting a race at Redcar yesterday.

Fortunately, Leech quickly realised his mistake and was able to alert the recall man, who waved his flag to stop the horses travelling too far.

Dale Gibson, the jockey of the horse left behind, Lostris, said: "My horse was only half-way in when he let them go. He mustn't have realised that all the horses hadn't been loaded."

The stewards mounted an investigation and found that Leech, a former jumps jockey, was to blame. The stewards' secretary, Patrick Hibbert-Foy, said: "The starter has accepted that he made an error and a confidential report on the matter will be submitted to Portman Square."

The Uttoxeter stewards had a hectic time, handing out a pounds 230 fine to the trainer Howard Johnson for failing to tell the jockey Jason Titley that the first-race winner, Beckley Fountain, had hypersensitive skin, and suspensions for use of the whip to the conditional jockeys Richard Johnson and David Walsh. They also disqualified third-placed Darleyfordbay from the opening race after his rider, Timmy Murphy, lost a weight cloth in the closing stages and was unable to weigh in at the correct weight.

Martin Pipe, needing five wins for a career total of 2,000, saddled three winners yesterday.

Halling, ridden by Frankie Dettori, won the Group One Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp.

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