Aidan O’Brien faces large fine after case of mistaken identity at Newmarket

Embarrassment for Ballydoyle as wrong horse officially place third in fillies Group 1

Aidan O'Brien faces a large fine after a case of mistaken identity in the Group 1 Fillies Mile saw the wrong horse officially placed third at Newmarket on Friday.

It was initially believed that O'Brien's 50-1 shot Snowfall had finished third behind the winner Pretty Gorgeous under jockey James Doyle.

However an eagle-eyed twitter user spotted that the horse third past the post was in fact Snowfall’s stable companion Mother Earth.

Doyle was correctly sporting the number nine saddle cloth for Snowfall but was in fact riding the 18-1 chance Mother Earth while her intended rider William Buick was on Snowfall by mistake.


Mother Earth now faces disqualification when a stewards enquiry is held into the matter on Saturday with O’Brien potentially facing a large fine for the embarrassing mix-up caused by his on-course staff at Newmarket.

‘The wrong fillies’

O’Brien reported from his Ballydoyle base: “I didn’t see the race, I just listened to it. Someone brought it to my attention then afterwards, that someone had tweeted that they were the wrong fillies.

“I went straight away to look at the race and the minute I saw them coming out of the stalls I knew that they were the wrong fillies.

“Obviously I rang the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) straight away and said it to them. What happened was that our lads put the wrong saddles on the wrong fillies.”

A BHA spokesperson said: “The stewards have been made aware of a potential issue regarding the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket today which have resulted in the incorrect rider and number cloths being carried by the two horses trained by Aidan O’Brien.

“A stewards enquiry will be held on the racecourse tomorrow to consider all of the relevant evidence and determine the course of events and what action needs to be taken.”

Since racing resumed in Britain during the summer, and with isolation rules in place due to coronarvirus, O’Brien has a team of staff based in Britain that deal with Ballydoyle runners there.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column