Sometimes horse, jockey, equipment or a combination of the three go wrong in racing. Of course, the consequences can sometimes be tragic – but a lot of the time they’re simply hilarious or startling.
So here are four bloopers to ponder, along with a few amusing proposed horse names that were rejected by the British Horse Racing Authority for reasons which should be readily apparent, though some take more time to sink in than others.
But first the bloopers…
1. Where’s the line – is that it? Snatching defeat from jaws of victory…
In December 2005 at Leopardstown racecourse near Dublin, in the two-mile, one furlong Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase eventually won by Hi Cloy, the Irish jockey Roger Loughran riding 11-4 shot Central House appears to have ridden the perfect race.
Central House jumps the last fence just in front of four other horses (including double Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Moscow Flyer) all of whom are still in with a shout.
But on the run-in, Roger and Central House appear to have timed their run to the line to absolute perfection. Thanks to some very strong riding from Roger, Central House just clings on to ‘win’ by a neck from Hi Cloy, Fota Island and Moscow Flyer – or at least that’s what he thinks he’s done.
Sadly, Roger had mistaken an upright bundle of birch for the finishing line ‘lollipop’ and eased up on his mount around 70 yards from the line, believing he had won.
He then compounded his error by standing up in his irons and extravagantly celebrating his close-run victory by punching the air with whip in hand – even though the jockeys either side of him were driving for the finish.
Unfortunately Roger, then just 25, had only just turned professional mainly due to the strength of his riding on Central House – with whom he was looking for a third straight win. It was going to be his first big winner as a pro.
2. Oh no – he’s gone too early! Much too early in fact…
Another case of finishing a little (actually, make that a LOT…) too early comes to us courtesy of Australian jockey Rhys McLeod at Moonee Valley racecourse in Melbourne, Australia.
The infamous incident occurred in a 3,000 metre handicap back in January 2002.
The unfortunate jockey pushed very strongly for home on his horse Mystic Outlaw in the straight – despite the fact that there was a whole extra lap still left to race.
At the two furlong marker, Rhys reached for the whip and drove on strongly to what he thought was the line to ‘win’ by a wide margin before easing up. Of course, the field continued and the jockey realised what had happened
and tried to stay in the race – but went gradually back through the field, ending up tailed off by 70-odd lengths.
He was greeted by the crowd’s ironic cheers as he crossed the line – presumably very red-faced.
3. Oops – this horse has seen the Devon Loch video
The jockey is over the line – but the horse isn’t Halloween in 2006 proved to be a really spooky day for English jockey Richard Johnson at Exeter racecourse.
First of all, he was barged out of his saddle on Chilling Place in the main race of the day after looking like he would win. But much worse was to follow.
He seemed to have a three-mile handicap chase completely sewn up on Out The Black.
But literally a few yards from the line, the horse did a ‘Devon Loch’ – sprawling on all fours and sending Richard over the top.
He was so close to the winning line, in fact, that the jockey crossed the line at the same time as eventual winner Charlie’s Future – sliding along on his front.
Apparently, the horse got spooked on Halloween by a by a garishly dressed spectator standing near to the winning post.
And as a footnote – Richard Johnson lost the next race narrowly on favourite Minella Tipperary to complete a haunted Halloween.
4. A wild ride
Run out, run back in again, run out & repeat!
Next, we go State-side to Pimlico racecourse, Baltimore, Maryland, for a wild ride with jockey Xavier Perez and his horse, Spicer Cub in April 2013.
The four-year-old was sent off at 2-1 in a $25,000 maiden claimer and quickly took a lead.
But halfway round the far turn, the horse suddenly bolted out wide. Xavier Perez managed to get things back under control and guided the horse back into the field – losing the lead in the process, but still running third down the home straight and looking in with a chance.
But then Spicer Cub bolted out wide again, more strongly this time, causing the jockey to lose his irons.
He continued racing – going in-between the rail and starting gate parked on the side of the track. But then suddenly, the horse reappeared and rallied strongly to the line to finished second – losing by a nose.
Imagine what he could have done if he was really under control.
5. Horse names that didn’t get past the censors
OK, not exactly a racing blooper, but a funny note to end on … the job of licensing and registering horses falls to the British Horseracing Authority.
Some of the names the BHA has had to say a polite “Whoa!” to in the past include the following (and you may have to think about a few of them):
• Anita Hanjaab
• Ben Timover
• Neil Anblowmee
• Arfur Foulkesaycke
• Oil Beef Hooked
• Chit Hot
• Hugh G Dildeaux
• Ivanna Threesome
• Anita B Jaynow
• Pee Nesenvy
• Willy Fisterbottom
Meanwhile; Norfolk Enchants & Hoof Hearted are names Wayne Rooney reportedly once joked about giving to two of his horses.
He was clearly looking to emulate fellow footballing scousers Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman who called one of their horses ‘Some Horse’ – then bought a second and called it ‘Another Horse’ which must have caused a few commentary problems in its
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