Epsom race declared void after false start

Epsom-voided-race-360

The runners come home in the void race at Epsom

  PICTURE: GJ Multimedia  

EIGHT riders who completed Epsom’s 5f course despite the flagman indicating a false start escaped without punishment on Monday afternoon.

Champion jockeys Ryan Moore and Paul Hanagan, plus James Doyle on the first horse home Humidor, were among the riders who could have been hit with a costly ban if the stewards had found them at fault.

The entry point for failing to pull up is ten days which would have ruled the jockeys who took part in the race out of the Ladbrokes St Leger and the inaugural Irish Champions weekend but they were cleared of any wrongdoing in the inevitable stewards’ inquiry.

Explaining the reason to void the race, stipendary steward Colin Vickers said: “The race was void because the starter had called a false start, the flagman waved the flag, and none of the jockeys pulled up before crossing the finishing line. Voiding the race was automatic.”

Having heard the evidence of the starter and the advance flagman, the jockeys were found not in breach under a combination of circumstances, which included that visibility was very poor because of the weather conditions and that the flagman didn’t blow his whistle.

Vickers added: “Calling it a false start was the starter’s decision. He’s on the rostrum and he sees if a horse has gained an unfair advantage.”

The starter James Stenning was certain that Taurus Twins had gained an unfair advantage. “It was definitely a false start,” he said. “The horse [Taurus Twins] burst the gate and gained a length. It was as clear as day.”

Hanagan, who was on the unplaced Silvanus, said: “The procedures weren’t right, I feel for the flagman, but it wasn’t our fault.

“I was closest to the flagman and I saw him okay because mine jumped to the left, but none of the other boys saw him. 

“He had started to walk away to the inside of the track before running back and raising his flag, and usually they walk in front of us so we can all see them. Also, he was supposed to blow his whistle as well wave the flag, and there was no whistle.

“I tried to pull mine up but I couldn’t.”

Valerie Murphy, representing Humidor’s trainer George Baker, said: “He hasn’t won in two years and he’s been waiting for ground like this. Everyone raced – nobody was held back. It was a proper race and you’d have had a job to stop them anyway in a five-furlong sprint.”

A report will be sent to BHA headquarters.

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