There was drama at a rain-drenched Epsom yesterday as the runners completed the full five furlongs despite a false start having been called in in the totepool Supporting The Sport You Love Handicap.
The riders appeared not to notice the flag man on the track and the race carried on, with the George Baker-trained Humidor passing the post first in the hands of James Doyle. A stewards’ inquiry was immediately called, which resulted in the race being voided.
The stewards interviewed Doyle and fellow riders Ryan Moore, Sam James, Paul Hanagan, David Probert, Kieran O’Neill, Daniel Muscutt and Martin Lane.
The officials found that O’Neill’s mount, Taurus Twins, had anticipated the start, breaking open its gate and beginning the race in advance of the others. A false start was immediately called and it was reported that the advance flag operator “initially took several steps to his right” before waving the recall flag.
The riders said the advance flag operator was out of their line of sight having moved to his right, particularly in the poor visibility conditions, and because of this continued in the race. Evidence was taken from the advance flag man, who confirmed he had moved.
As the operating procedures were not followed by the official, the stewards decided that no action would be taken against the riders. A report was forwarded to the British Horseracing Authority. A number of bookmakers announced they would pay out on Humidor and refund losing bets.
At Ripon, Izzthatright – trained by Richard Fahey and ridden by Tony Hamilton – continued on a marked upward trend with a brave front- running effort to claim Listed honours in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy.