Brendan Powell: jockey is escorted back to weighing room after blunderPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Wrong course drama at Fakenham for Powell
JOCKEY Brendan Powell was left red-faced and banned for 14 days after taking the wrong course when well clear at Fakenham on Tuesday.
Riding Benny The Swinger for trainer Chris Gordon and owner Les Gilbert, conditional jockey Powell went the wrong side of the divide at the end of the 2m½f handicap chase jumping the fence in front of the stands instead of crossing the winning line.
While racegoers and punters were left flummoxed by what had just happened, it appeared to have left Roc De Guye with the simplest of tasks to win the race for a third year running but he was nabbed on the line by Peak Seasons, who won by a nose.
The Michael Chapman-trained Peak Seasons was winning for the second time in as many days and provided his rider Gerald Galligan with only his second winner having been aboard 24 hours earlier.
Speaking from Folkestone, Gordon said: "I'm not going to shout at the boy, I'm going to let his father do that. Brendan will be gutted and the owner will be gutted and it is very upsetting.
"It's one of those things but it happens too often at Fakenham. It is a sharp course and if only they dolled it off on the last circuit so jockeys don't make that mistake."
Powell's father Brendan Powell snr wrote on Twitter: "He made a mistake. He's devastated. Only 17. I think that's enough abuse now. Thanks."
Tony Calvin: "a Betfair first"PICTURE: Jim Austin
The stewards held an inquiry into the race and banned Powell for 14 days (December 4-17 inclusive) for taking the wrong course.
The stewards also looked into the ride of Adam Wedge on Roc De Guye and stipendary steward Tony McGlone said: "Obviously we looked at his ride but we were satisfied that he had ridden out all the way to the line."
There was £29,000 matched on Benny The Swinger at 1.01, the shortest possible price, on Betfair while £39 was matched on Peak Seasons at 1000, the maximum price available. Roc De Guye also traded at both prices.
Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said: "I can't readily recall a race where two horses have traded at the minimum price of 1-100 and lost, and the winner has traded at 999-1.
"And certainly not a race when a horse - in this case, the runner-up Roc De Guye - has gone from 999-1 to 1-100, in a matter of seconds, and still lost. The race could well be a Betfair first."
Bookmaker Paddy Power paid out on Benny The Swinger as if he was the winner while Boylesports refunded bets placed on the unfortunate runner.
Powell's mistake is not the first to happen at Fakenham with Gold Cup and King George-winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen riding a finish early in December last year. Denis O'Regan and Sam Thomas also made errors around the sharp course in 2008.