Three days before the start of the Cheltenham Festival, racing again demonstrated its capacity to shoot itself in the foot when the wrong winner of a race at Sandown was called.
It may have been good news for punters gathering funds ahead of the biggest betting meeting of the year, but it meant bookmakers who paid out before the “weighed in” call, which makes the result official, had to pay out on two long-priced winners. Bookmaker Barry Dennis claimed it cost him £20,000.
Sandown has two winning posts, 20 yards apart, the first for the chase course which comes up the straight at a different angle, and the second for the hurdle course.
Initially, One For Rosie, a 12-1 shot, was announced as winner after he had flashed past the post in unison with the 9-1 shot Third Wind.
When the winning margin was announced as a neck, it became clear that the judge was looking at a copy of a photo from the first winning post.
Providing the right photo-finish print is the responsibility of Race Tech, and it transpires that instead of having both their cameras on the hurdle course finish, the main one and back-up were on the separate finishes, hence two versions.