Racing: Demolition derby makes debut at Ellerslie

By Mike Dillon

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Perhaps they should have run the open sprint at Ellerslie on Saturday again after the last race.

Impossible, of course, but that might have been the only fair result of the Leila MacDonald 1200.

A stock car race was bandied about freely immediately after the shambles of a race and for a change the term was appropriate.

For starters here is the official judicial report of the last 300m of the race:

Ginja Ninja, Happyto Keepa (R. Norvall) and Trapiche (O. Bosson) were all badly crowded passing the 150m, with Happyto Keepa and Ginja Ninja both having to be severely checked. C. Dell admitted a charge of careless riding in that he permitted his mount Demophon to shift outwards passing the 150m when not sufficiently clear crowding Ginja Ninja and Happyto Keepa. Dell was suspended by the Judicial Committee from the conclusion of racing on Wednesday, 3 October, until the conclusion of racing on Thursday, 11 October.

S. Shirahama was suspended from the conclusion of racing on Friday, 5 October, until the conclusion of racing on Thursday, 11 October, after admitting a charge of careless riding in that he permitted his mount Time Legend to shift inwards approaching the 100m when not sufficiently clear crowding Trapiche on to Happyto Keepa. In assessing penalty the Judicial Committee took into account S. Shirahama's excellent riding record.

Faraway Eyes (A. Collett) shifted outwards to obtain clear running near the 100m and bumped with Shuka which was shifting in.

D. Johnson admitted a charge of careless riding in that she permitted her mount Shuka to shift inwards over the concluding stages when not sufficiently clear crowding Faraway Eyes (A. Collett) on to Civics Rock (L. Innes) and Time Legend which were all severely checked. D. Johnson was suspended from the conclusion of racing on Saturday, 6 October, until the conclusion of racing on Thursday, 18 October.

Initially there was mass surprise that no protests were lodged. However, the ultimate requirement of proof to force a change of placings in such protests is that the connections of the horse making the protest have to convince the JRA panel it would have beaten home the horse that caused the interference.

That meant the only possible protest was on behalf of third-placed Faraway Eyes against second-placed Shuka, who brushed Faraway Eyes when he flashed home late. Immediately, Faraway Eye's rider Alysha Collett declared her horse could never have beaten Shuka to the finish.

Perhaps the niggling part of the race is that the horse who caused the first of the two separate incidents, Demophon, ended up winning, with no one being able to protest.

Had Ginga Ninja and Happyto Keepa finished in a dividend-bearing position they would definitely have been successful in a protest against Demophon.

The interesting footnote to this is that the effort of Shuka, in flashing home brilliantly, was lost.

Also, that having realised she was responsible for some of the interference, Shuka's rider Danielle Johnson, perhaps sensibly, stopped riding and took hold of her horse with one stride left, checking his momentum.

Shuka was beaten half a head and would certainly have won if ridden in that last stride - and would have retained the race. A classic example of how quickly jockeys are asked to think and respond.

- NZ Herald

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