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Racing fans and experts ‘baffled’ by decision to ban Robert Havlin for five days after Haydock collision

, Racing fans and experts ‘baffled’ by decision to ban Robert Havlin for five days after Haydock collision

THE Haydock stewards were slammed by racing fans and experts alike after their controversial decision to ban jockey Robert Havlin.

The veteran rider was slapped with a five-day careless riding suspension – despite head-on footage suggesting he was the victim in a hair-raising incident.

Free Wind and Robert Havlin (white silks) went for a gap on the inside at Haydock
Jim Crowley appeared to move Eshaada across into Havlin’s path
, Racing fans and experts ‘baffled’ by decision to ban Robert Havlin for five days after Haydock collision
Both fillies became unbalanced when they collided two furlongs out

Havlin was riding the eventual winner Free Wind in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks and went for a gap up the inside of Jim Crowley on Eshaada.

Crowley appeared to glance across twice in Havlin’s direction before edging his filly across, causing the pair to collide and Free Wind to hit the running rail.

Somehow, the John and Thady Gosden-trained four-year-old managed to rally and win going away under Havlin.

It was widely expected that former champion jockey Crowley would be the one to be punished in the post-race stewards’ enquiry.

But it was Havlin who was deemed the guilty party by officials – to the astonishment of many, including jockey Callum Shepherd.

He tweeted: “That is the most astonishing thing I’ve ever read on a stewards’ report.”

One fan said: “I thought it was one of the worst pieces of riding I had seen for a long time.

“There was a clear gap. Stewards are a joke here. Someone’s horse could have been killed.”

Another posted: “It is the most ridiculous decison ever made. It is making a mockery of the sport.”

While one simply said: “Baffling. Absolute madness.”

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The stewards view was that Havlin went for a gap that was not open long enough, and that he was responsible for the interference.

The post-race report said: “An enquiry was held to consider interference approximately 2 furlongs out involving ESHAADA, placed third, ridden by Jim Crowley, the winner, FREE WIND, ridden by Robert Havlin and KAWIDA, unplaced, ridden by Neil Callan.

“Havlin was suspended for 5 days for careless riding as he persisted and committed for his run into an insufficient gap which was only briefly viable between the running rail and ESHAADA, causing considerable interference to ESHAADA and KAWIDA, and resulting in FREE WIND turning ESHAADA’s hind quarters, which in turn caused both fillies to become severely unbalanced.”

It is unclear if Havlin will appeal his suspension.




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