Racing at Warwick is abandoned due to safety concerns

Tuesday’s evening meeting at Warwick was dramatically abandoned after just two races, prompted by safety fears after the fall of Artful Lady in the opener, writes David Hucker.
Jim Crowley (spotted jacket) pilots Gold Waltz to victory in the second and final race at Warwick on Tuesday night. Picture: Les HurleyJim Crowley (spotted jacket) pilots Gold Waltz to victory in the second and final race at Warwick on Tuesday night. Picture: Les Hurley
Jim Crowley (spotted jacket) pilots Gold Waltz to victory in the second and final race at Warwick on Tuesday night. Picture: Les Hurley

The tightness of the Warwick track has been a cause for concern before, most recently when leading jockey Ryan Moore broke his wrist in a fall two years ago, after which he was highly critical of the course.

Despite being successful in both the races to be run, jockey Jim Crowley spoke out after the abandonment.

“It has happened too many times now - they need to sort out the camber. They have done it at other courses like Goodwood, so why not Warwick?” said Crowley.

“It’s a tight bend on fast ground and they mow the grass very short and then it rains. It’s a recipe for disaster - why do you think Ryan Moore will not ride here?”

Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma said: “It’s a case of rain on top of good to firm ground. I will be discussing the options we have with the BHA’s inspector of courses Nicky Carlisle.”

After the recent dry spell, the going was on the firm side but heavy rain started to fall as the 13 runners lined up for the opening Celebrating 307 Years Of Warwick Racecourse Handicap over six furlongs.

Euroquip Boy headed the market at 3-1 to follow up his win over the course earlier in the month, but it was second favourite Red Invader, a winner at Southwell before disappointing at Brighton last time out, who looked likely to score as he led into the straight.

However, despite the efforts of jockey Jamie Spencer, he wandered across the course, ending up against the stands rail and completely ruining his chances as 25-1 shot Climaxfortackle came fast and late under Crowley to lead inside the final furlong and deny Ada Lovelace and Belle Bayardo.

But the real drama of the race had taken place at halfway, at the intersection of the sprint and round courses, where Artful Lady fell and was fatally injured, prompting the stewards to inspect the track before allowing racing to continue after the bend had been sanded.

All nine went to post for the following British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes but, with the race being run over the same six-furlong trip, the big question was whether they would all handle the bend safely.

The jockeys went a steady pace early on, taking no chances around the bend. With all the runners still standing, it was Gold Waltz who led into the straight, with Crowley opting to come stands side. She ran on well to deny well-backed favourite Mary McPhee, giving her trainer Ralph Beckett his first juvenile winner of the season.

As only two races were run, racegoers can claim a 50 per cent refund. This will be automatically sent to those who booked through the ticket hotline, website or by post. For those who paid on the day, applications should be made to the racecourse office.

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