Racing at Chelmsford on Tuesday night was abandoned after a power failure caused a virtual blackout during the running of the third race. The floodlights at the Essex circuit went out with about two and a half furlongs to run of the feature race on the card. That seven-furlong event was declared void and the rest of the meeting called off, as the course remained in darkness.
The British Horseracing Authority said on its Twitter feed: “Due to the judge not being able to verify the full result, the race has been declared void. Due to power failure, the decision has been made in conjunction with racecourse management to abandon the remainder of the meeting.”
Tony Ennis was the racecourse commentator for the meeting and explained what happened. “All the power went off with a quarter-mile to go and the rest of the race was run in darkness,” he told At The Races. “It was very dark. I could just make out I think it was Florencio by a short head, but it was very tight. Two of them were involved. I couldn’t work out what the other horse was, as basically it was very dark. All we had was the back grandstand lights still on. Obviously it was almost pitch black.
“The whole track was in darkness from about two an a half furlongs from home, in what was the feature race. I’ve never known anything like it. Everything went down – the lights, the commentary, the judge’s microphone.”
Florencio’s trainer Jamie Osborne expressed his disappointment at the race being declared void. “I don’t think there is anything I can do,” he said. “There was a light on the winning line, but the judge said he couldn’t determine the result, so he had to void the race, which being a £15,000 race is disappointing for my owners.”
The official report from the stewards at Chelmsford read: “An inquiry was held to consider if this race should be declared void. The judge was interviewed. The judge explained that due to insufficient light, he was not able to verify the full result.
“The stewards were unable to view the last two furlongs of the race, and taking into consideration the judge’s evidence, the stewards declared the race void. An inquiry was held into the circumstances surrounding the failure of power.
“The clerk of the course, racecourse executive and electrician were interviewed. Having heard their evidence, the decision was made in conjunction with the racecourse management to abandon the remainder of the meeting. A report was forwarded for further consideration to the head office of the British Horseracing Authority.” PA
Greg Wood: Bryony Frost, very much the jockey of the moment, will be a fully-fledged professional jockey the next time she climbs aboard a horse in public, having become only the second female to ride out her claim over jumps in Britain when Marienstar, the 5-2 favourite, landed a handicap chase at Kempton Park on Monday evening.
Frost’s first ride as a pro will not be on Tuesday, however, as she currently has nothing booked until the first day of Cheltenham’s three-day meeting on Friday. And how the punters will miss her, as Frost’s record on fancied horses in particular since she returned from a three-month absence due to injury in early October is exceptional.
It has taken Frost a total of 516 rides to lose her claim, and overall, her strike-rate on market leaders is a very commendable 35.8%. Since her return from injury, though, Frost has ridden 12 clear, joint or co-favourites. All were odds-against, and no fewer than nine have won, at prices up to 5-1.
“I’m a professional now,” she said. “I’ve flown the nest. It’s now a bit of a daunting time, but I’ve got Paul Nicholls and Neil King behind me. When you have those teams behind you, they fill you with confidence.”
The hard work starts now, of course, as Frost starts to mix it with the senior riders without the benefit of an allowance. Her confidence levels could hardly be any better, though, and Frost’s ride on Present Man to win the Badger Ales Trophy for the second year running at Wincanton three days ago was a timely reminder that horses just seem to run and jump for her.