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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Blunder leaves Weymes sprinter in Dream situation

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A handicapping blunder has left the BHA red-faced in advance of a sprint at Wolverhampton on Friday evening.

Dream Ally will be able to run off a weight 6lb lower than he should carry after the John Weymes-trained gelding was dropped 1lb before his win off a mark of 51 at Chelmsford two weeks ago but then left unchanged.

The mistake was spotted after 48-hour declarations were made and there is no flexibility under the rules to alter the weight.

Robin Mounsey, the BHA media manager, explained: “Unfortunately Dream Ally’s handicap mark was not altered following its recent win.

"Alterations cannot be made to a horse’s mark following declarations and as a consequence the horse will run off a mark of 50 rather than its correct mark, which should have been 56."

Mounsey reported that the other 11 individual trainers in the 13-runner Betway Sprint Handicap – division one of the race – had been contacted with the offer of withdrawing unpenalised and having their entry fee refunded. None had done so as of Thursday afternoon.

Not all horses who are technically 'well in' go on to win their races, as is highlighted by horses running unsuccessfully under minor penalties for wins after the handicapper has reassessed them at a considerably higher level.

The BHA admitted the blunder was in-house and Mounsey concluded: "While we aren't aware of a similar issue having occurred in recent years we will of course take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again and follow up the issue internally.”

E.W. Terms
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