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Sectional data tells us who was in the wrong at Wolverhampton

Racing Post's betting editor Keith Melrose assesses the controversial race

Controversy at Wolverhampton as Wanaasah posts remarkable all-the-way win
Controversy at Wolverhampton as Wanaasah posts remarkable all-the-way win

There were shades of Josephine Bruning on Sol Rojo in the farcical race won by Wanaasah at Wolverhampton on Wednesday.

In March 2008 at Kempton, Bruning was given a huge lead by her three rivals, who seemingly miscounted how many laps they had to complete. The error was not quite so obvious this time, but given that 12 years ago all three riders left the course with hefty bans it seems puzzling that no action was taken on the day.

Sectionals, provided by Total Performance Data who have been collecting tracking data at Wolverhampton for some years now, tell the story. In fairness, they appear to heap praise on winning rider Dylan Hogan, who rode a daring but well-judged race. He had Wanaasah going much faster than par for the first mile or so, to the tune of about 20 lengths. Favourite Dance To Paris was roughly that far slower than par for the same portion of the race.

Although Hogan and Wanaasah were already well clear by halfway, the race was won in its third quarter. Here Hogan let off, but not to the extent that the others could reel him in easily. To start eating into a 40-length lead with only six furlongs to go, as the sectionals show Elisha Whittington on Dance To Paris and William Carver on Purdeys Gift attempted, is leaving it late to say the least.

Watch a replay of the 4.10 at Wolverhampton

It could be argued that Georgia Dobie on second-placed Fearless Warrior is excused from some of the blame. She rode the first mile or so quite evenly and, had she had the conviction to close more gradually in the second half of the race, might have reaped the rewards. Given the bizarre circumstances in which she found herself, it is understandable that she hesitated.

The sectionals show that, while Hogan went hard up front, the riders in the main body of the field left it much too late to close the gap. It does suggest that sanctions could and perhaps should be handed down retrospectively.

Officials at the BHA will reportedly examine sectionals and review the situation in the coming days. Had the stewards been in the picture earlier, the unsatisfactory look of letting what seem to be quite clear mistakes going without retribution could have been avoided.

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Published on 16 January 2020Last updated 10:50, 16 January 2020