A double administrative error – should I say cock-up? – Means the first race on this evening’s card at Southwell will be a total irrelevance as far as the formbook goes. OK, it’s a race for amateur riders, so it’s hardly going to upset the pattern book, but it is an embarrassment for both the clerk of the course, Roderick Duncan, and the British Horseracing Authority.
The Play Golf At Southwell Golf Club Amateur Riders’ Handicap is run over a mile and three quarters. It was originally intended for three year olds, but then changed to four year olds and upwards. The conditions for the race set the minimum weight at 10st 9lbs, when it should have been 9st 9lbs. As a result, 12 of the 14 horses declared are due to carry a stone more than they should be.
Two of those listed in the morning papers have been withdrawn already, and several others are likely to follow. The BHA, recognising its part in the error, has already said that trainers will not be fined if they withdraw their horses.
Duncan explained yesterday what had happened. He said, “I’d programmed a race for three year olds that the BHA’s race planning department said wasn’t going to work and they changes it to a race for four year olds and above. They changed the conditions accordingly and I must admit I never clocked the weights at the calendar stage. Race planning rang me after declarations (on Monday) and said they realised they had made an error, and that trainers would be allowed to withdraw without penalty. I have got to share some of the responsibility because I should have noticed the mistake.”
Robin Mounsey, for the BHA, accepted their part in the error, which led to the weights being published incorrectly.
Despite what has happened, Richard Guest confirmed that his horse, Dunaskin, would definitely run. He told the Racing Post that his wife, Alison, “has been out running, swimming and getting fit for the last four weeks and for that reason, and that reason alone, Dunaskin will be running. It was my mistake as well. I saw the race was for horses rated 46-65 but didn’t look at the weights.”