Quick off the mark: Cartmel voids race on safety grounds following fall
A potentially dangerous situation was nullified at Cartmel on Wednesday when clerk of the course Anthea Morshead took the decision to void the 2m1f handicap hurdle mid-race.
Officials acted swiftly following the fall of The Compeller and Grand National-winning jockey Derek Fox at the first flight in the 16-runner contest, with yellow flags to signify the race had been stopped greeting the runners as they returned to the scene of the fall on the second circuit.
Explaining the decision, Morshead said: "We had a very nasty fall and the jockey [Derek Fox] lay completely still on the bypass ground and in addition it looked like the horse had a swinging leg but fortunately he just had his legs through the rein.
"An assessment of the situation was taken by one of the vets, who said in his opinion there wasn't room to get past and at that point we instituted the halt-race procedures. In my 18 years clerking, this is the first time I've had to issue the stop-race procedure."
Fox, who was trampled on by a horse in behind, was eventually taken off track and later reported to have been winded and bruised, while the Lucinda Russell-trained The Compeller was found to be unscathed.
All bets were refunded following an inquiry into the incident by the stewards, who were satisfied that the correct procedures had been implemented.
'Decision to deploy yellow flag was fair'
Stipendiary steward Adrian Sharpe said: "We were satisfied with the reason for stopping the race and that the procedures were carried out correctly.
"We felt the decision to deploy the yellow flag was fair because in the clerk of the course's opinion there wasn't enough sufficient room to bypass the hurdle as Derek Fox had fallen into the bypass ground and couldn't be moved in time for the horses to come round."
As has been done previously, following meetings at the course on Saturday and Monday the first hurdle was resited to the Woodside part of the course from its original position at the top of the hill to provide fresh ground.
Some of the jockeys riding in the race agreed the procedure had been carried out correctly, although there was some discussion as to whether having such big fields on a tight track was in the best interests of safety.
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