Oscar dives out at Warwick

Warwick's false rail

There is a problem with the running rail just beyond the finishing post at Warwick racecourse. This was highlighted yesterday when What An Oscar, who was sharing the lead at the time, ended up on the wrong side of the running rail as the leaders bunched together and unshipped jockey Sam Twist on-Davies.

All the way round the circuit there is a rail to separate the flat and jumps courses. On the major bends there is a substantial length of rail to divide the chase and hurdle courses. Within the home straight there are two very short stretches, no more than 20 yards each, which seem to serve very little purpose at all (you can see them clearly on Multimap). Clearly they are there to separate out the two tracks, but that the 100 yards or so between the two allows just a little bit of wriggle room when there are three or four horses vying for position.

You could argue that they should be removed altogether. If a jockey wanders from one track to the other – well, they'll simply lose some ground. What would be more sensible would be to join the two up and have a continuous piece of rail taking horses through the last half furlong or so and beyond the finishing post to where the track turns left again.

According to the Racing UK commentary, a similar incident occurred in a hurdle race three or four years ago. I wonder whether the management team there just dismissed it as an isolated occurrence and thought it just couldn't happen again. Now that it has done they really do need to take some action. It was lucky yesterday that only one horse and rider was involved, and that neither were injured.

The incident was an unfortunate end to the three and a half year tenancy of Andrew Morris as clerk of the course, during which time he has done much to improve the standing of Warwick. “Over that period the rising status of the Kingmaker Chase has been particularly pleasing, with the last two winners being Long Run and Finian’s Rainbow, and it is a proper Festival trial,” he said.

But I do hope his successor sorts out the running rail.

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1 reply
  1. Ian says:

    I certainly agree that Andrew Morris has done a CRACKING job at Warwick my local track – he is 1,000,000 times more capable than the previous incumbent – Fiona Needham who was totally useless deadly with a hosepipe – getting one meeting abandoned when she flooded the track in a drought!!!!! and another called off when she found out that pouring boiling water on frozen landing areas didn’t actually work but simply froze them more!

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