Void claims another race

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The Independent Online
For the second successive day the rules of racing were made to look ridiculous yesterday when one of the jumps at Worcester had to be avoided because of a stricken body on the landing side and the race was declared void, even though there was plenty of room to bypass the obstacle and continue the race. Similar confusion had occurred at Kelso on Tuesday.

After yesterday's incident, the Jockey Club announced that the rule governing such situations is to be amended in the summer - not a day too soon considering the current spate of cases. Better still, is that the body that caused the obstruction, that of the jockey Mark Perrett, recovered remarkably quickly considering that his condition had looked so serious at the time.

Perrett was unseated at the first hurdle and was still prostrate, but receiving medical attention, as the field made their way back into the home straight.

The flight was dolled off on the orders of the course doctor, Stewart Wilkie, who was concerned that Perrett, unconscious and having severe respiratory problems, should not be moved.

The remaining runners by-passed the hurdle and while most of them pulled- up, six jockeys urged their mounts over the final flight. They were all fined: £220 in the case of the senior riders and £110 for the conditional jockeys.

Perrett later arrived back at the course after undergoing extensive examination at a nearby hospital. He said: "I can't remember a thing about it as I was bang out for five minutes. They X-rayed me from top to bottom at the hospital, but everything seems to be in the right place.

Malcolm Wallace, the Jockey Club's director of regulations was at the track and said: "This could not have happened at a worse time, the day after the Kelso affair. But we are bringing in a new rule on 8 June and under that the race would not have been declared void - we would have had a winner as hurdles and fences can then be by-passed in the interests of safety. The new rule has already worked successfully 22 times this season in point-to-points.

"The doctor took a conscious decision in view of Perrett's state of health and put his welfare to the fore in front of everything else.

Martin Bosley, who rode `the first horse home, Persian Bud, and one of those fined £220, said: "It's a bit of a joke. I knew they were going to change the rules but they may have changed them overnight for all I knew."

Explaining the fines, the stewards' secretary, Colin Vickers, rather unfortunately chose an example which could also be deemed unfair. "The amount is the same as Trevor Horgan was fined at Cheltenham after [his mount] Dr Lunt was forced off the course in the Triumph Hurdle," he said.

The clerk of the course, Hugo Bevan, said that the £2,600 prize money for the void race would be divided between the runners to help out with expenses.

Richard Dunwoody's mount also fell in a separate incident, and the champion jockey was taken off the course by stretcher. He rode in two later races but said: "I've aggravated the knee injury I sustained at Newton Abbott 12 days ago and now my right foot is very, very sore and bruised after this fall."