Chris Honour said he would “never tell someone not to win” as he revealed his family have been caught up in the fall-out of the controversial performance of Hillsin at Worcester on Wednesday evening.
Hillsin was making his first start for Honour in the two-and-a-half mile conditional riders’ handicap hurdle and looked to have a fine chance of notching his first career victory in the hands of conditional Dylan Kitts when moving into contention up the home straight.
However, the five-year-old finished third beaten a length and a half, with the run coming under close scrutiny from the raceday stewards who held an inquiry and subsequently referred Kitts to the British Horseracing Authority, with the horse suspended from running for 40 days.
Speaking to the Nick Luck Daily Podcast on Thursday, Honour said: “I’m beside myself about the whole thing. I’ve had phone calls to my wife last night and she’s been in tears. I’m upset with it and it is not something I want to be involved in.
“In my mind I did my job right, the horse has run one of the best races of his career, to the point where I don’t want to be dropping the jockey in trouble – he’s messed up, he’s a 7lb claimer – but I told him not to let go of his head and he’s gone to an extreme. In my mind, if he was to look back this morning I’m sure he would be disappointed with the ride he has given it. It’s a disappointing scenario to be dealing with quite frankly.
“Reading Twitter and Facebook is horrible for us and my family and it is not something I want to be associated with. I did my best with the horse in my mind and I’ve ridden him every day myself. He’s gone there in great shape, run a lovely race, it’s just a very disappointing outcome.
“I love horses and I love them like they are my family to a certain extent, but with him this morning, I’ve gone and fed him and I looked at him and thought you’ve caused one of the worst days in my racing career.
“It upsets me. We don’t stop horses, it’s not our thing, people say it happens in racing and it does but it’s not what we do. We try to think outside the box about how we ride our horses and how to campaign them. I train horses slightly different to other people, but I do believe I have created a good environment where our horses can run above their weight.
“I would never tell someone not to win, it’s not even fair to ask someone not to win, at the end of the day lads go out there with their neck on the line. I don’t want people to think bad or ill of us because it’s not us and it’s not what we do. But I cannot dispute it looks awful.”
Kitts had ridden Hillsin on his last two starts for his previous trainer, but it was the first time that he had linked up with Honour, who said he would have liked Bryan Carver to ride the gelding in ideal circumstances.
“I wanted Bryan on and I want Bryan on all my horses,” he added.
“I spoke to the agents and said I want Bryan on this horse and the owners have said they want Dylan.
“I don’t know Dylan, I had never met him or spoken to him until yesterday when giving him the instructions to go out and drop him in, take your time and keep hold of his head.
“From there I can’t ride the race for him. I feel sorry for the lad, he’s done as I have asked, but he’s done it to an extreme that isn’t enough.
“People are saying we have stopped it, but that’s not me, I haven’t stopped it and it is against my ethos of how we run and train our horses. We have punched above our weight and hopefully we will get to the bottom of it with the investigation with the BHA.
“I’m embarrassed, I’m embarrassed for my team at home, they don’t deserve this, they work really hard.”
Honour also told The Sun he had asked owner Alan Clegg to take his horses from the yard.
“I’ve spoken to the owner and said I would love to keep the horses, but I just don’t want to be associated with this anymore,” he said on www.thesun.co.uk
“I don’t want to go to the races with him next time and have people still talking about it, I just want it to end.
“The horses have only been here about four or five weeks but they will be going to another trainer this afternoon. The owner has been good about it and is as embarrassed as I am.”