Dixon unlikely to forget chaotic events at Wolverhampton in a hurry

By Sports Desk April 09, 2024

Scott Dixon was left to reflect on what for him proved an “incredibly strange” last race at Wolverhampton on Monday night, where only two runners eventually lined up after a false start.

The stalls did not seem to open when the starter’s flag fell in the closing Download The Racecourse App Raceday Ready Handicap but then released moments later, causing the starter to wave his flag to signal a false start.

By that point the horses were already a stride or two into the seven-furlong race and though the call to pull up appeared to spread fairly quickly, that was easier said than done for many of the riders.

Sue Gardner’s Kimifive and Dixon’s Mudlahhim were already locking horns and several other horses were reluctant to stop behind them.

The rules state horses are automatically withdrawn if they complete the course after the false start flag is waved, meaning all eight horses that crossed the line could not then partake in the rerun of the race. Oriental Spirit’s trainer Stuart Kittow decided not to take part after his horse ran keenly before being pulled up near the line, adding to earlier non-runner Captain Wentworth.

Eventually only two horses lined up for the delayed running, with Dixon’s other runner A Pint Of Bear losing out by three-quarters of a length to an old stablemate in John O’Shea’s Rose Fandango.

“It was an incredibly rare situation, from what I can gather the stalls didn’t open when they pressed the button,” Dixon said.

“I’ve watched the race back and I think it was all of them, it wasn’t a select few.

“The rule is if you cross the line you’re out and there were some horses that just couldn’t pull up and one of those was definitely mine.

“I had two runners, I had Mudlahhim and A Pint Of Bear. Mudlahhim is an unbelievably keen horse in his home work and he can be in his races. He just thought he was in a race.

“When my assistant and I saw what happened we both looked at each other and said there was zero chance of getting him back before the finishing line.

“Ultimately that’s what happened, him and another horse did another circuit and they were just taking each other on which wasn’t helping matters.”

The matter has been forwarded to the British Horseracing Authority for review after all riders, the starters, the starting stalls team leader, clerk of the course Fergus Cameron and others were interviewed and shown recordings of the incident.

“It was just incredibly strange, and to make it even stranger for me was that the horse we ended up in a match race with, Rose Fandango, I used to train,” Dixon added.

“His last win was with me, so it got even weirder! I ran down to the start and saw A Pint Of Bear myself to make sure he was all right.

“Phil (Dennis, jockey) and I thought he was fine and he was looked at by the vet and he was all good to go.

“It’s not going to be ideal for any of them but he was 100 per cent fine to run, we made the decision to let him have a go and sadly for us we lost the match race.

“All the horses were fine and all the jockeys were fine and that’s all that matters, really.

“It seems like it was a mechanical fault, which ultimately can just happen, and even human error is always going to happen occasionally.

“It’s just one of those things, you’ve got to feel sorry for people with horses that couldn’t run – they have spent the money and taken the time to go, it is very unfortunate but it is just one of those things.”

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