Sir Gerry camp hit out at BHA over Sprint Cup entry
OWNER Gerry Galligan has hit out at the BHA's decision not to reopen the Sprint Cup.
The 6f race was due to be run at Haydock last Saturday but heavy rain scuppered the meeting and the contest was transferred to Doncaster on Saturday.
However, the BHA have opted to allow just the 22 horses confirmed at last Monday's five-day stage to contest the Group 1 event rather than reopening the race to those who withdrew.
Galligan took his possible runner, Sir Gerry, out at that stage due to the likely testing conditions but he feels he should have another crack of the whip as the race is being run at a different track.
"I think it's a disgraceful decision of the BHA not to allow us to run. We paid £1,800 in entry fees so far, yet we are told that we are not welcome," said Galligan.
"Last Monday we were faced with the prospect of running our horse at Haydock where the going was already heavy with severe rain forecast.
"With the horse coming back from a break, we decided not to run him there. You do not drive a Ferrari in a field!
"Saturday's race will be run on much better ground and I feel my horse should be allowed to run in it - in fact I am furious that I am not.
"The BHA are telling me that if my horse wins, the connections of the second would feel aggrieved, but to me that's hypocritical.
"A rich owner who doesn't pay the early entry fees could have, and did, fork out £17,500 to buy his way in at the six-day stage.
"If I finished second to such a runner, I would be the first to shake his hand. All the BHA are doing on Saturday is creating a questionable sprint champion.
"The race is being run at a different course, under different ground conditions, with a different sponsor and with less prize money.
"Any owner that has paid £1,800 in entry fees so far should have the right to reconsider an entry because of this.
"When the public watch the Sprint Cup on Saturday, they should be aware that it's a false field created by the BHA's narrow-mindedness."
The BHA believe they have taken the fairest course of action for those involved in the delayed event and have dismissed Galligan's argument for reopening the race.
Paul Struthers, the BHA's media relations manager, said: "During our discussions on Saturday regarding relocating the Sprint Cup, it was always intended that we would revert to those left in at the five-day stage, rather than reopen the race.
"This is a championship race that we're picking up and moving, as opposed to putting on a consolation race.
"Those that were not engaged after the five-day stage, for whatever reasons, would not have run in the race had it been staged at Haydock.
"By staging the race instead at Doncaster we are not putting on a new race, but saving the Sprint Cup for those that were engaged in it.
"We therefore do not feel it is appropriate to reopen the race and that it would be unfair on those that were engaged in the race to reopen it to those that weren't."