Possible 'wrong horse' repeat avoided at Uttoxeter

Mon 31 Jul 2017

Uttoxeter stewards avoided a possible repeat of the 'wrong horse' drama at Yarmouth when they prevented newcomer Candlelight Story from running in the opening Junior Brewers' Mares' Novices' Hurdle on Sunday.

Officials were not satisfied the horse presented at the racecourse stable yard was the seven-year-old Kayf Tara mare, trained by Jennie Candlish.

The veterinary officer reported the matter to the stewards, who refused to let the horse take its chance in the two-mile contest.

Stipendiary steward Greg Pearson told At The Races: "Prior to race one today, the stewards held an inquiry acting on a report from the veterinary officer that the horse presented as Candlelight Story was unable to be identified by microchip.

"They used five different scanning devices to try and identify the horse. The horse presented either had no microchip or one that was unreadable. That was the first time this horse has been presented on the racecourse.

"The back-up option of its passport does not match the horse. There are distinctive markings missing from the horse. The horse presented is also bay but we aren't able to establish the horse is Candlelight Story and therefore the horse cannot run.

"Given we've got two pieces of evidence that are inconclusive, we are not satisfied the horse can take its place.

"We do not know which horse arrived at the racecourse today."

Candlish was represented by her assistant and partner Alan O'Keeffe, who told Press Association Sport their owner was "adamant" the horse in question was the right one.

He said: "We haven't brought the wrong horse far as we're concerned, she couldn't be microchipped, it looks like there is one there, but it couldn't be scanned and read for some reason.

"Some of the markings didn't check to the passport. We were sent the horse from the owner unraced and sometimes the markings are wrong.

"As far as the owner is concerned it was the right horse, but obviously we have to agree with the BHA because they can't read the microchip and there was no other option but to have her withdrawn. We have to take their side, we don't want the wrong horse running.

"I was there and they have done everything right and we've no arguments with what they did.

"As far as the owner is concerned that is the passport that came with the horse. We don't want people thinking we took the wrong horse, the microchip is the key point and if had come up hopefully it would have matched the passport number.

"We totally agree with the procedure taken. The bottom line is if you can't be 100 per cent sure then we'd rather not be running.

"If the markings had matched the passport, the horse would have run."

He added: "They have taken blood samples and they have been sent to Weatherbys (administrators) to identify the horse, and if necessary she'll have her passport altered and everything will be fine, which we hope will happen. We're hoping that is the case and it should be resolved in a few days.

"She's a seven-year-old and things can change, markings-wise. The owner is adamant this is the right horse."

Stablemate Bridane Rebel, who ran at Uttoxeter on Friday, had been declared a non-runner in the same race earlier in the day.

This potential banana skin came just days after the Charlie McBride-trained Mandarin Princess, winner of the opening two-year-old race at Yarmouth, was in fact stablemate Millie's Kiss, who was due to run later on the card.

The mistake was only discovered after the 50-1 outsider had overturned the 4-6 favourite Fyre Cay in the six-furlong novice auction stakes for juveniles.

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