Lingfield: officials abandoned the final race for amateur ridersPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Lingfield cancels due to lack of medical cover
THE first of Lingfield's popular Saturday evening meetings ended prematurely owing to a lack of medical cover after one of the two on-course ambulances was required to take Tom Queally to hospital before the last race.
Queally, however, was not believed to be seriously injured after he fell off the ill-fated No Indication in the 7f maiden. He was seen to walk from the medical room to the jockeys' changing area, where he proceeded to take a shower. According to a weighing room source, he was prepared to drive himself to hospital.
While many racegoers were happy enough for the evening's post-racing entertainment to begin early, it was hugely frustrating for connections of the eight runners in the concluding amateur riders' handicap, some of whom said they will be pressing for compensation, and also for the riders themselves, four of whom have yet to ride a winner.
Clerk of the course Neil Mackenzie Ross insisted he had no choice in the matter. The track, he said, was "no longer medically compliant" and he called upon the senior medical officer Dr Jerry Hill to explain the technicalities.
Hill said: “When a jockey is injured at that point we decide if they need hospital treatment. We now have to use a course ambulance whereas in the past we could call one in from outside.
“If we need a course ambulance we couldn’t continue until that ambulance returned. It depends where on the card this happens as it can just mean a delay, which can be overcome, but in this instance it would have been too late by the time the vehicle returns.”
He added that he was not at liberty to discuss Queally’s injury because he didn’t have the permission of the jockey.
Earlier, Newcastle's evening meeting was abandoned around the time of the scheduled first race because of persistent rain during the afternoon and during the last hour before racing.
The stewards, accompanied by several riders including Robert Winston and Liam Jones and trainer Michael Dods, walked part of the course before the scheduled first race and after a brief inquiry the track was considered unsafe.
Winston said: "There is some standing water in the straight and it was worse on the bend."
Dods said: "There is standing water in places on the course and if they had raced the foot holes would have filled up with water. Also, the road crossing just after the winning post was a real splodge."
Due to the heavy rain the paddock, including the winner's enclosure, resembled a lake.
The track’s clerk of the course James Armstrong tweeted: “Racing Abandoned due to waterlogging and safety. Following upwards of 58mm in the last week. Sorry all."