Nottingham racecourse: scene of withdrawal fiasco

Edward Whitaker / racingpost.com/photos

Amendments have been made to the procedure for announcing withdrawn horses down at the start of a race by the BHA in a bid to avoid the shambolic scenes that occurred at Nottingham last month.

Owner Craig Buckingham was left incensed when his intended runner for the £25,000 Sprint Final of the Grassroots Series, Magic Pulse, was withdrawn in error.

One of her rivals, Operative, became upset in the stalls and was taken out, but Magic Pulse was mistakenly announced as withdrawn.

Now all withdrawals that take place on the racecourse will have to be ratified by the senior stipendiary steward at the meeting before confirmation is given and the decision broadcast.

Previously the task lay with the clerk of the scales, who would not necessarily have had access to the footage of the horses down at the start and the loading procedure.

Craig Buckingham: his horse was mistakenly withdrawn at Nottingham

Once the new stewarding model is implemented in 2019, the chief steward will fulfil the task.

The new procedure has been in place since the start of November, and the BHA’s head of racecourse operations, Emma Marley, said: “Following the wrong horse being withdrawn in early October our focus has been on making the necessary changes to make the on-course process for withdrawing horses as secure as it can be.

“We are acutely aware of the impact incidents like the one at Nottingham can have not only on connections and participants but on bettors, fans and the sport’s wider reputation.

“The new procedure aims to minimise the chances of another episode of human error occurring, and we will continue to monitor the process closely as it beds in over the coming weeks and months.”

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