Horseracing Bettors Forum urges BHA to investigate Bushypark Hexham punt
The Horseracing Bettors Forum has asked the BHA to look into the huge gamble landed by the Phil Kirby-owned and -trained Bushypark at Hexham on Wednesday.
The six-year-old had been beaten a combined total of 196 lengths in his four previous outings over hurdles yet was backed into 7-4 favourite from 16-1 for a 0-100 handicap hurdle.
And the money proved well placed as Bushypark scored with any amount to spare, leading from the third flight under Tommy Dowson and coming home an unchallenged 11-length winner.
HBF chair Colin Hord revealed that the organisation, which was set up to safeguard the interests of punters, had referred the gamble to the BHA and said: "The horse was significantly backed and it won so very easily.
"The issue is that it's frustrating for punters when they can't find winners like that – it would have been a very difficult horse to find on the form. Occasionally you can look back and find the horse had done well in the past on that track or on that ground or with that jockey.
"When they are so hard to find, it doesn't give confidence to people who are betting on racing. These things don't happen that often but I know the BHA integrity team take them very seriously."
It is BHA policy not to comment on whether an investigation is taking place but when the stewards at Hexham interviewed Kirby they noted his comments that the gelding benefited from the softer ground and the application of a cross noseband to help him settle.
The trainer did not respond to calls from the Racing Post, but before Bushypark ran on Wednesday Kirby's website had claimed to be "just hoping he shows some improvement".
Afterwards, his Twitter account reported: "He spreadeagles the field in the 3.40 under a great front-running ride from Tommy and Phil delighted to lead him in wearing his colours. An improving horse and one to go chasing in the future."
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