Support has been growing for Newmarket trainer Charlie McBride who saddled the wrong horse in the opening race at Great Yarmouth yesterday.
The race appeared to have been won by Mandarin Princess, a 50-1 outsider, but a post race check revealed the winner was in fact Millie’s Kiss who had been due to run in the fourth race.
The mix up looks to have occurred when the wrong horse was taken to be saddled by one of McBride’s grooms. It meant a two year old, who was supposed to be making her racing debut, was actually a horse which had run 10 times and had won a race, giving it a considerable advantage over the rest of the field, including the 4-6 favourite, Fyre Cay, who finished second beaten a neck.
“It was a genuine mistake, “ said McBride, who trains at Exeter House in Newmarket’s Exeter Road, “And humans make mistakes. I took a young girl who has been with me for two or three months to the races. She has ridden both fillies and knows them both. After we checked them we got some lunch and I sent her to get the two year old and I went to the weighing room to get the saddle. I had to wait for over 20 minutes for the saddle and the fill was already out when I got back and as I was stressed and rushing I didn’t look that closely, I just assumed it was the right horse.”
John Mear, owner of Millie’s Kiss said: “I feel desperately sad for Charlie, he must be going through hell. People not involved in the game will think it’s skulduggery but no one has backed the horse. It’s unfortunate and I feel desperately bad for Charlie.”
Jockey John Egan, who rode the ‘winner’ added : “At the end of the day we’re all human and mistakes happen. I feel most sorry for Charlie.”
In a statement the BHA, which runs horseracing said: “The incident at Great Yarmouth has been referred to the BHA’s head office in order that we can carry out an investigation, in accordance with our rules. Since we introduced the microchipping identification system an incident such as this is, as far as we are aware, unprecedented.
“The issue had not been established until after the result had been made official. After the weighed in has been declared on the racecourse, the result cannot be amended by the stewards.
“The responsibility lies with the trainer to present and run the correct horse in the race. Having said that, and while we have not seen an incident of this nature in recent times, we will of course determine what steps need to be put in place to prevent it from happening again. We sympathise with the betting operators and betting public who have potentially been affected by this incident.”