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False start chaos at Longchamp

Updated: Sunday, 05 Oct 2008 13:59

False start chaos at Longchamp

There was drama at the start of the Prix de l'Abbaye after a false start was called despite over half the field racing for well over three furlongs.

In scenes reminiscent of the infamous Esha Ness race that never was in the 1993 Grand National, jockeys were looking at each other in amazement.

One horse failed to leave the stalls as Fleeting Spirit's gate refused to open.

Unfortunately, the Hungarian raider Overdose blazed a trail at the head of affairs and completed the course but by the end of the five-furlong race not many were still racing.

Confusion followed but news filtered through that the race will be re-run at 5.30pm Irish time, with the strong likelihood of a depleted field.

Jockey Darryll Holland was on board Kevin Ryan's Desert Lord and told BBC Sport: ‘There was so much confusion down at the start, they took an age to load them up.

‘Nobody knew if it was a false start or not and when I saw horses coming round me I just thought I'd better keep going.

‘I couldn't stop my lad anyway, I was a passenger, when those sprinters get rolling there is no stopping them.

‘He's just run flat out for five furlongs so I wouldn't have thought Kevin would run him again later on.’

Fleeting Spirit banged her head twice on the unopened stalls and a decision will be made later on her participation.

‘Ryan didn't realise what had gone wrong, he thought he had asked her to jump too quick and then he realised they had gone,’ said trainer Jeremy Noseda.

‘I've never seen it in my life and I hope I never see it again.

‘Ryan said she banged herself a couple of times trying to get out and and she twisted a shoe so she is being re-shod now.

‘I've made a decision that we'll see how she is in a couple of hours to see if we are happy with her.’

Sandor Ribarszki, trainer of Overdose, said: ‘I don't think we are going to run again. I am very very unhappy - we have come 1700km for nothing.’

Charlie Hills, assistant to Equiano's trainer, his father Barry, said: ‘He went for two and a half furlongs but will definitely run again.’

Jim Crowley, rider of Moorhouse Lad, said: ‘I saw the red flag but it is difficult to pull these sprinters up and all of the lads were shouting it was a false start and saying to pull up.’

Frankie Dettori was on Dandy Man: ‘To try and pull up these sprinters at full speed is almost impossible and I realised about halfway that it was a false start.’

Paul Hanagan was on Green Manalishi and said: ‘I didn't see anything to say it was a false start and to try and get these horses back to a walk is impossible.’

Kevin Shea, the rider of South African challenger National Colour, was most unhappy: ‘None of the jockeys knew, we didn't hear anything or see any flags and everyone who pulled up said they knew nothing about it. We'd gone 200 metres when I looked at Frankie and he told me it was a false start.’

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