New stop-race procedures called into action at Plumpton

The newly-instigated stop-race flag was called for and utilised with maximum efficiency as the Download The Star Sports App Maiden Hurdle at Plumpton was declared a void race.

It was the first time in more than 40 years that it has happened at the course.

Wudyastopasking was fatally injured after breaking down approaching the final flight down the back straight on the first circuit – and was still being attended to by vets and ground staff when the field came round again, led by odds-on favourite Dorking Lad.

Clerk of the course Mark Cornford was quick to activate the stop-flag, while commentator Simon Holt equally swiftly announced that the race had to stop and would be voided.

Cornford said: “The route through was where the horse was being attended, and you couldn’t be sure the horses could go round it.

“Of course thoughts are with connections in these circumstances.

“There was a lot of staff that needed to be there, to try to shield the scene, and we had quite a number of runners in the race approaching quite fast.”

Chief Steward Richard Westropp said: “Unfortunately the horse injured himself approaching the hurdle and veered towards the bypass area, meaning there was nowhere for them to go.

“Both the clerk of the course and the racecourse vet were quickly on the case. All the jockeys obeyed the instructions to the letter, and it worked really well. It had to be done because the ground staff were quite spread out, and would have been at risk as well.”

Jockeys were united in their views, and Jamie Moore on Dorking Lad said: “Harry (Skelton) was shouting that the new stop-race flag was out. It was unfortunate for connections of the stricken horse, and there will be another day for mine.”

Sam Twiston-Davies agreed, and said: “They had to make a quick call, and it can be quite tricky.”

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