A walk around the paddock and a canter from the last fence to the line was enough for Desirable Court to earn just over £5,000 for owner Craig Buckingham at Warwick on Thursday, marking an abrupt change of fortune after one of his horses was wrongly denied a chance to run at Nottingham the previous day.

The fallout from Wednesday’s Nottingham fiasco also continued, however, as the British Horseracing Authority insisted new measures will ensure a similar mistake cannot happen again.

Buckingham’s sprinter Magic Pulse missed the race at Nottingham after one of his opponents, Operative, became unruly in the stalls. Magic Pulse had still to be loaded but the starter incorrectly reported his racecard number as that of the horse that had been withdrawn and an announcement was made that Magic Pulse would not run. A swift correction followed but the stewards decided that, despite the circumstances, since Magic Pulse had been announced as withdrawn, he could not take his place in the stalls.

Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s chief regulatory officer, said on Thursday it had not been possible to correct the mistake because of the confusion that would have been caused in betting markets.

“Once a horse is withdrawn, it triggers a whole raft of actions, not just at Nottingham but also across betting shops and betting platforms in this country and around the world,” Dunshea said on At The Races. “This cannot be safely undone within the context of a global wagering market so that’s why, when a withdrawal is announced, you can’t undo that.”

Dunshea also said a new race day governance structure with all officials reporting to a chief steward, which is due to be introduced early next year, should ensure there is no repeat of the Nottingham error. “Hands up, this shouldn’t have happened,” Dunshea said. “We’ve contacted and apologised to the owner and we absolutely appreciate the disappointment of Mr Buckingham.

“Yesterday, the starter called through the withdrawn horse to the clerk of the scales, who is not always in a position to see the loading [of the stalls]. The new chief steward will be responsible for instructing the appropriate people that decisions have been made and will be there watching the load as it unfolds. That will significantly mitigate the risk of a human error like this happening.”

Buckingham, who has more than 20 horses in training, said he was considering whether to quit racing as a result. His luck did change for the better on Thursday when two of the three horses declared for a beginners’ chase at Warwick were scratched a few hours before the race. As required under the Rules of Racing, Desirable Court needed only to prove she was present and sound by cantering back from the last fence to secure the £5,000 prize for her owner.

 

 

 

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