Forking out: Kelso forced to pay £1,000 for unwelcome obstacle
Kelso has been called to account for a potentially dangerous incident in which a fork used for repairing rough ground between races was left propped up against the kick-board in front of the open ditch.
The fenceman realised his mistake but by then the five runners in the 3m2f chase on October 28 were thundering down to the second fence.
All of the field managed to avoid the extra obstacle, and the jockeys told a BHA inquiry in London on Wednesday they were largely unaware of what exactly they had evaded when tackling the fence. By the time they returned on the next circuit the fork had been removed.
Kelso managing director Jonathan Garratt, who moved from Cartmel this year, made the trip to London and told a disciplinary panel the fence staff realised the mistake but considered it was too dangerous to try to remove the fork before the horses reached the fence.
Garratt said the case had caused embarrassment among the staff, who were dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of safety.
He agreed the course was temporarily unfit for racing but argued the management was not to blame as they employed well-trained responsible staff and the incident was outside their control.
Kelso was fined the minimum £1,000 for the breach, which could have cost a maximum £15,000 punishment.
Explaining the decision to not impose a heavier fine, the panel's verdict was "that this incident was an unforeseeable and isolated incident caused by the momentary carelessness of one of the staff which we are persuaded is unlikely ever to be repeated".
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