Worcester: stages three below-tariff races on tonight's cardPICTURE: David Dew
Trainers' prize-money protest leads to walkover
TRAINERS have withdrawn all bar one runner from the final race at Worcester on Wednesday night in protest against poor prize-money.
Top jumps trainers including Nicky Henderson, Philip Hobbs, Jonjo O'Neill, Donald McCain, Alan King and David Pipe are among those committed to supporting the boycott in an attempt to draw attention to what they claim are unacceptable prize-money levels.
Indeed, 11 of the 12 runners for the race have been declared non-runners leaving just the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Moulin De La Croix to line up.
Protest organiser Charlie Mann, who gave notice last week that the £3,000 partex-direct. co.uk Novices' Hurdle was a potential target for action because it was £900 below a tariff set by the Horsemen's Group, confirmed the boycott would go ahead after the track's management was unwilling to inject more funds.
Under original plans the race was to be boycotted completely, with all the runners withdrawn, but Mann revealed a change of strategy last night.
"We have decided between the 12 of us that one horse will be nominated for a walkover," he said. "It will cost Worcester £3,000 and that money will go either towards the trainers' fines or to charity. It won't be a case of one trainer breaking ranks.
"This could have been avoided by putting up £900. That was all we were asking for. There are three below-tariff races on the card. If we don't do something it will just go on.
"The Flat boys got it sorted mainly due to Sheikh Mohammed not running his horses in below-tariff races. We don't have a Sheikh Mohammed in jumping. We are doing this because we feel so strongly about this. It can't go on."