Starter Trevor Harrison accepted full blame for today's City Of Auckland Cup false start debacle.
Harrison let the field go while one of the favourites Pinmedown was still behind the stalls. Realising his mistake he then pushed the false start button, forcing the field to be recalled.
The race was re-run but only after three late scratchings, two of them being other favoured runners in Justamaiz and Sentimental Miss, who were withdrawn after the official raceday veterinarian declared they had run too far and used up too much energy in the false start. Bets on all three horses who were scratched, the other being Roger That, after the false start were refunded.
Long-time northern starter Harrison wasn't making excuses after the incident. "It was my mistake, simple as that," he told the Herald.
"I just didn't see the horse (Pinmedown).
"I was distracted by another couple of horses who were rearing up and at the same time the hood came off Pinmedown (making her harder to see) and she was right behind one of the clerk of the course horses and I didn't see her so thought she was in the gates. I then called a false start when I realised what had happened because I thought she deserved the chance to be in the race.
"I feel bloody terrible about it, I don't know what else to say."
Harrison, who is tremendously respected in the industry, stood himself down for the remaining two races and stewards have opened an inquiry into the incident.
Platinum Invador's victory bittersweet for Latta
Platinum Invador's victory in the Gr.3 SkyCity City of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie today was a bittersweet result for trainer Lisa Latta.
The Palmerston North conditioner's other runner Sentimental Miss was late scratched from the race along with race favourite Justamaiz and Roger That after a false start was declared due to the field being released with Pinmedown still at the back of the starting gates, waiting to be loaded.
Platinum Invador's jockey Leith Innes was aware of the situation and was ready to pull up his charge upon hearing the false start siren, however, other mounts weren't so lucky.
"It is frustrating that you travel the horses all the way up here for that to happen," Latta said. "You feel for all three horses that did get late scratched. James (McDonald, Sentimental Miss's jockey) didn't hear the siren and got all the way around to the 1000m.
"Platinum Invador did get pulled up early and it was a good ride by Leith."
Latta said she was confident with the 4-year-old son of Redwood after his runner-up performance behind subsequent race favourite Concert Hall in the Gr.3 Manawatu Cup (2300m) last month.
Platinum Invador recorded a comfortable win in the end, running away to a 2 length victory over Savy Yong Blonk, with a further long head back to The Good Fight in third.
- Addtional reporting: NZ Racing Desk