SOME 12 jockeys were hauled in for questioning after a ‘complete farce’ of a race.
All Class landed a huge gamble in the 12.30 at Punchestown on Tuesday after being backed from 13-2 into 13-8 before the off.
The Ronan McNally-trained mare, who finished 71 lengths behind the leader on her previous run last month, won the 3m1½f handicap chase by 23 lengths.
Runner-up Capture The Drama finished a further 19 lengths ahead of third-placed Jimli’s Island, who was fully 42 lengths behind the winner.
The bizarre contest – which saw the runners totally strung out – was labelled a ‘complete farce’ by McNally, even though he benefited more than anyone.
Interestingly, All Class had landed a monumental gamble for her previous trainer David Dunne.
The six-year-old was backed from 66-1 right down to 9-2 to win a Flat handicap at Navan in March this year.
Perplexed stewards demanded answers into just what had gone on in yesterday’s race and spoke to 12 jockeys after the race.
The only riders not questioned were winning jockey Donagh Meyler, the runner-up and the two who fell at the first fence.
IHRB communications director Niall Cronin said: “The riders felt that the early fallers contributed to them getting so strung out early on and that they went very quick for the type of race it was.
“The stewards noted their explanations.”
McNally revealed he had backed his runner but tried to play down the gamble.
He told the Racing Post: “We had a few quid on, but I wouldn’t read too much into it being a massive gamble.
“The bookies tend to run for cover with my horses.
“I also wouldn’t read too much into the race, it developed into a complete farce.
EARLY DRAMA CHANGED EVERYTHING
“If we hadn’t have followed the leader, we might have been in trouble while the rest were asleep.
“Hopefully the handicapper won’t be too hard on her.”
In the official stewards’ report of the race, it was noted that jockey Denis O’Regan said there was a ‘cavalry charge’ to the first fence.
The report read: “All horses were going too quick and the early complexion of the race was dramatically altered with the fallers at the first and the front runners were further set alight by the loose horses.
“This opinion was confirmed by the other riders who all felt that they jumped off together and were racing with the leaders but it was the fallers that pulled the race apart.”
This race did have some similarities with an infamous win by The Steward at Newcastle in February.
Chris Hughes was among the punters floored by that performance, with the racing fan and former Love Island star tweeting: “I don’t think I have ever seen anything like that in my life.”
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