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Haydock abandon mid-card after ground concerns

Haydock abandon mid-card after ground concerns
Haydock abandon mid-card after ground concerns

Saturday’s high-profile meeting at Haydock had to be partially abandoned due to unsafe ground on the home turn.

While the opening Bet Boost At bet365 Handicap over five furlongs took place without incident, it was clear after the following one-mile-six-furlong bet365 Handicap that there were issues on the round course, with three horses slipping independently on the final bend.

A delegation of trainers and jockeys, including William Haggas, Tom Marquand and James Doyle, soon took to the track alongside course officials to hold an inspection, and after some remedial work racing was initially given the go-ahead, allowing the bet365 Lancashire Oaks to take place.

But while the mile and a half contest came and went without any major issues, some of the riders who took part remained concerned and the decision was made to call off the three remaining races on the round course, including the £150,000 bet365 Old Newton Cup.

The six-furlong bet365 Nursery, originally scheduled to be the fifth race, did take place as the fourth and final contest on a truncated card.

Molly Day, general manager of Haydock Park, said: “An inspection was called following three horses slipping on the bend leaving the back straight in our second race, and as a result, reactive measures were taken to ensure the bend was safe to continue racing ahead of our third race.

“However, following race three a further inquiry was called, and the decision has been made to abandon all races on the round course (race four, race six and race seven).

“The welfare of our equine and human participants is our number one priority, and there are no further measures that can be taken to ensure the racing surface is safe to run the rest of today’s card in full. We are very sorry to all our racegoers here today, and all ticket purchasers will be offered an equivalent ticket or badge to another 2024 fixture of their choice, subject to availability.”

Jockey Oisin Murphy was better placed than most to assess the events, with his mount Wild Waves slipping in the second race, while he was victorious in the Lancashire Oaks aboard Queen Of The Pride.

He said: “A couple of weeks ago the clerk of the course got some stick in the press and from different racing people about watering and with the forecast this time round he hasn’t watered.

“The volumes of water that were meant to fall last night and this morning didn’t materialise and as a result the track in the straight and the bend, where we were racing on fresh ground, is good to firm.

“They haven’t been able to get grip round the turn and we’re in a position where even with sanding – it’s too late to now water – it’s unsafe for racing. They agreed they would do some work so they slit the track and sanded it and unfortunately that hasn’t been enough to create good enough grip.”

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