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Dramatic turn of events at Newton Abbot leads to unlikely winner for Mitchell Bastyan

Mitchell Bastyan ended up on the winning horse, Kubinski, in the concluding bumper following a dramatic sequence of events at Newton Abbot.

The 3lb claimer steered Chris Honour’s newcomer home over two rivals in the two-mile-one-furlong contest after his scheduled mount, Aussie Moon, was withdrawn and Kubinski’s intended partner, Bryan Carver, was injured on the way to the start.

Carver was treated on track and taken to hospital for further assessment on a possible back injury.

Aussie Moon had been declared a non runner after it transpired the wrong horse had been brought from Milton Harris’ stable.

Bastyan stayed on track and was rewarded with an unusual spare ride.

He was a last-minute replacement after Carver – who also claims 3lb – was thrown from 4-9 favourite Kubinski as he cantered to the start.

It quickly became apparent Carver would be unable to compete and the stewards allowed him to be substituted by Bastyan.

Kubinski behaved impeccably during the race and eventually got the better of long-time leader Gorcombe Moonshine by five lengths.

Honour, who owns as well as trains Kubinski locally, said: “You couldn’t make it up.

“Hopefully, fingers crossed Bryan is all right, that’s the main thing. He’s fallen and hurt his back.

“He was put on a spinal board for precaution. He said his back was hurting, but he said he could move everything so fingers crossed he’s OK.

“I was told they’d got another jockey so I said ‘let’s go’. I’ve never met Mitch Bastyan before. He’s gone out there and won a race for me. It’s great – an amazing turn of events.”

He added of the winner: “He ran very green, but he’s a nice horse and he’s going to the sales. He’ll be a lot of fun for somebody. I’d love to keep him, but I have to try to make things pay. He’ll improve a lot on what he’s done today.

“He’s a nice, big scopey horse. He hasn’t beaten much today but he gallops, is going forward and jumps a hurdle really well.”

Windsor and Newton Abbot fall to the weather

This evening’s meeting at Windsor has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

A precautionary inspection was called for 7am on Monday following heavy rain in recent days.

The final race of last Monday’s card was also abandoned following sustained rainfall throughout the evening and a fall in an earlier race.

Windsor racecourse’s Twitter feed posted: “RACING TODAY ABANDONED. Unfortunately we’ve had a further 9mm of rain overnight and further rain is forecast today.”

It was a similar story at Newton Abbot in Devon, too, ahead of Wednesday’s fixture.

The course had to abandon on May 12, too, and while an 8am inspection was called, the decision was taken before then.

A further 14 millimetres of rain fell in the previous 12 hours with more forecast for Monday and Tuesday leaving clerk of the course Jason Loosemore with no option but to call it off.

The meeting in Ireland at Ballinrobe did survive an inspection, however.

Wednesday’s fixture at Gowran, though, needs to pass an 8am inspection on raceday morning.

Parts of the course are currently unfit for racing and a further three millimetres of rain is forecast.

Richard Johnson announces retirement

Four-time champion jumps jockey Richard Johnson has announced his retirement.

Johnson, 43, announced his unexpected decision after his final ride on Brother Tedd at Newton Abbot on Saturday.

He said: “After nearly 30 years in the saddle, the time has come for me to retire.

“I have been so extraordinarily lucky to have ridden so many wonderful horses, and for so many incredible trainers and owners.

“It was particularly important to me to finish on one for Philip and Sarah Hobbs – who, like Henry Daly, have supported me for over 20 years. I’ll never be able to articulate what their loyalty has meant to me.”

Many of Johnson’s highest-profile winners came for Hobbs, including on Rooster Booster in the 2003 Champion Hurdle.

He also rode two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners, Looks Like Trouble in 2000 and Native River in 2018

Johnson added in a statement:  “There are so many people to thank who have been part of my journey.

“Without ‘the Duke’ (trainer David Nicholson) and Dinah Nicholson and their remarkable staff, I’d never have got that first leg up.

Richard Johnson won his second Cheltenham Gold Cup on Native River in 2018
Richard Johnson won his second Cheltenham Gold Cup on Native River in 2018 (Tim Goode/PA)

“Noel Chance, Peter Bowen and Milton Bradley – thank you for putting your trust in me when I was starting out. Those were the days that shaped my career, with so many people who remain lifelong friends.

“The truth is there are simply too many people to thank on an individual basis, but you know who you are and what you mean to me. To jockeys past and present who I’ve shared weighing-room benches with up-and-down the country, to the valets who have looked after me, to the doctors who’ve patched me up and to the physios who’ve put me back together.

“Without (agent) Dave Roberts, I’d have never ridden as many winners – and without the help of physio Kate Davis in recent years, I wouldn’t physically have been able to. I salute you all.”

Johnson was a perennial runner-up to 20-times champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy for much of his career – but following his great rival’s retirement, he too made the title his own for four successive years, from 2015/16 to 2018/19.

He added: “Thank you to the Tote and the ROA for sponsoring me. Thanks to all the fantastic racecourses and staff that put on this great show and to all the media who have been so supportive for so long.

“To all horseracing fans who we have missed so much this year on our racecourses. Thank you for every cheer, every shout of encouragement – it’s given me enormous strength over the years. I am so very grateful to you all.

“To my wonderful family, thank you so much. Mum, Dad and my brother Nick who have always been by my side. Finally, to my wife Fiona and amazing children Willow, Caspar and Percy. Without you, nothing would have been possible.”

Robbie Power registers first win since British switch

Robbie Power partnered his first winner since relocating to Britain as Eldorado Allen made a successful fencing debut in the Follow @WillHillRacing On Twitter Novices’ Chase at Newton Abbot.

The Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey has made frequent trips across the Irish Sea in recent seasons, enabling him to ride for both Jessica Harrington at home and Colin Tizzard in Britain.

However, with Covid-19 protocols making such an arrangement impossible, Power has moved to Britain for the foreseeable future, leaving behind his wife Hannah and young daughter Emma.

Having his 11th ride since the switch, Power steered the Tizzard-trained Eldorado Allen to a two-length success over Stormy Ireland.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “(Life) is a bit better now – I’ve had a winner, so that’s great.

“It was a decision I was forced into, a decision I didn’t want to make. All through the summer I was chatting with my wife and saying this might happen, but we never thought it would.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it’s done now and we’re here.

“I think my family will stay (in Ireland) – I’m only here for six or seven months of the year and (will) go home for the summer. We’ve got to look on the positive side of things and hopefully Covid, not just for my sake but for the world, will pass over and we can get back to some sort of normality.

“It is what it is at the moment and we just keep going.”