Stalls controversy rages as festival closes

 

There were no starting stalls in operation today as the Galway Festival came to an end following malfunctions of the equipment both on Friday evening and on Saturday.

The feature event on Friday had to be started by tape after a malfunction. The problem was repeated to a greater extent yesterday in the Irish Stallion Farms Nursery when the number six stall of the well-backed second favourite Alexander Goldrun did not open initially and effectively militated against her chances.

The top weight Steel Light proceeded to justify 11-4 favouritism in a tight finish with Marjell as Alexander Goldrun's jockey Kevin Manning reported to trainer Jim Bolger that their filly had been left.

Alexander Goldrun, a 7-2 chance, finished 10th of the 11 runners.

"I shouted for a false start and it's unbelievable that it wasn't called. The gate didn't open and my filly had to force it to get after them," Manning explained.

After an inquiry that exonerated both the starter Peter McGouran and his advance flagman, trainer Bolger complained: "The stewards asked me to pass on their sympathies to my owner - but not their apology. The stalls are faulty, same as they were last evening."

The report of the investigation issued later confirmed that stall six had malfunctioned and that this was a recurring problem.

The stewards on duty referred the matter to the Turf Club "for immediate investigation".