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‘Wrong horse’ wins British race, but bets paid out anyway

Fri, Jul 28, 9:08am by Staff Writer

It’s the British racing controversy which has been compared to the famous Australian Fine Cotton ring-in.

A 50-1 shot saluted at Great Yarmouth on Thursday in a two year-old race only for a post-race investigation to reveal that the horse who ran in the race was actually a three-year-old stablemate.

Mandarin Princess, trained by Charlie McBride, knocked off odds-on favourite Fyre Cay in the opening race, but all was not as it seemed.

Stewards picked up that it was Mandarin Princess’ stablemate Millie’s Kiss who had won the race.

“The stewards held an inquiry to consider the circumstances surrounding the identification of the winner, Mandarin Princess, trained by McBride, which was presented at the Sampling Unit for routine testing, the stewards report read.

“The scan identified the horse to be Millie’s Kiss, the trainer’s other runner in race four. They interviewed the trainer, the stable groom, the veterinary officer and the equine welfare integrity officer responsible for the Sampling Unit.”

“Having heard their evidence they referred the matter to the head office of the British Horseracing Authority and ordered Millie’s Kiss to be withdrawn from race four.”

Tony McGlone, a steward at Yarmouth, told the Racing Post, that the situation as unprecedented.

“I’ve not come across this before. As with all horses they were taken across to the stables and scanned and then were allocated a box each.”

“Mr McBride was over at the weighing room and was slightly delayed and the stable girl had taken the horse out of the stables and into the saddling boxes. As he was in a rush, he put the saddle on, the horse ran and won.”

But McBride said the mistake was a genuine error, and not a ring in.

“It’s a genuine mistake and humans make mistakes,” said McBride.  “It’s an honest error and no-one stood to gain anything by it.”

Amazingly, the result will stand until the British Horseracing Authority amends it. That means punters will be paid out on the result.

Several bookmakers have also agreed to pay out on Fyre Cay winning the race.

The Fine Cotton scandal remains one of the most infamous in Australian racing history. Fine Cotton was a moderately performed galloper entered in a restricted race in August 1984.

It was sensationally backed from $34 into $4.50 and the horse won by a nose. But it quickly became apparent that there had been a ring-in when paint was found running down the horses leg.

The horse’s trainer absconded from the course and Fine Cotton was disqualified from the race, with all bets stopped from payment.

A subsequent investigation revealed it was not Fine Cotton, but the much better horse Bold Personality who had run in the race.

Two men, John Gillespie and trainer Hayden Haitana, were jailed, while several others were ‘warned off’ Australian racecourses for life.

Two of Australia’s biggest bookmakers, Bill and Robbie Waterhouse, were among those banned, but in 1998 after 14 years, the ban was lifted.

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