Saisons shines as safety concerns cut short Beverley action

Jedd O’Keeffe’s Saisons D’Or was the star of a Beverley card which was abandoned after the fourth race due to safety concerns.

The seven-year-old was in action for the fifth time this year having already enjoyed a win and a second place for syndicate owners The Fatalists.

Piloted by Billy Garritty and priced at 5-1, the grey ran prominently and edged through a gap in the latter strides of the race to cross the line a head in front of Ruth Carr’s Reputation.

“He’s an absolute superstar, he’s been around with me since he was a foal,” O’Keeffe said.

“He’s ultra genuine, ultra tough. When things go right for him he’s a superstar.

“He’s owned by the syndicate, most of whom are from Yorkshire, but not all. Some have been in the syndicate with various horses for years, into the tens and teens of years. It’s fantastic that the horse rewards them time and again.

“He’s the perfect syndicate horse because he just tries so hard, he always goes there with some sort of a chance.”

Saisons D’Or was the last winner on the Wednesday afternoon card as only four of the scheduled eight races on the Westwood were run, the first three of which were held over five furlongs and therefore only used the section of track on the home straight.

When the seven-and-a-half-furlong Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Handicap was staged over a larger section of the track, however, riders reported their horses had slipped on the bend and the stewards were consulted.

After a group of jockeys and racecourse officials inspected the ground on the bend, it was agreed the surface was unsafe to race on and the meeting was abandoned.

Beverley Racecourse chief executive Sally Iggulden after the abandonment
Beverley Racecourse chief executive Sally Iggulden after the abandonment (Simon Marper/PA)

Sally Iggulden, chief executive at the track, said: “We moved the bend on to fresh ground, it’s a move that we do every year, two or three times, to push them on to the fresh ground.

“Today Danny Tudhope in particular felt his horse slipped several times and some of the other jockeys expressed concern about it. We’ve had a very lush growth of grass recently, we had a shower before racing and we haven’t watered for this meeting.

“The rest of the track has been riding great but the bend hasn’t felt safe and that’s the main concern.

“We’re racing again on Saturday and we will move the rail back into it’s original position, which will put them back on to their racing line from the first four race meetings this season.

“That should give them more traction, more grip, the grass isn’t as long there, and we’ll be carrying out more remedial work.

“We’ll be looking at inviting our racegoers back to a future meeting. I’ve been here 22 years and we’ve never had to abandon a race meeting mid-meeting – it is gutting for everyone.”

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