Naas forced to abandon final two races due to safety concerns
Jockeys consulted after horses slipped on bend into straight
The final two races at Naas on Sunday had to be abandoned for safety reasons due to a slippery surface on the bend into the straight.
A number of horses were reported to have slipped on the bend in the opening mile contest after which some of the jockeys who had ridden in the race went to the stewards with their concerns.
The second race was also run around the bend and the majority of the field took a noticeably wide course around it.
The next three races were run on the straight sprint track while some ground repairs took place.
But prior to the Group Three Goffs Lacken Stakes, won by Sioux Nation, it was announced that the last two contests, run over seven furlongs and a mile, were to be abandoned.
“After the first, some of the jockeys said they were slipping on the bend and the stewards decided in the interests of safety to abandon the last two,” said clerk of the course, Brendan Sheridan.
Naas manager Tom Ryan expressed disappointment but stressed that safety was paramount.
“It’s the first time in 92 years that Naas has failed to complete a flat meeting so it’s desperately disappointing.
“But it’s impossible to ignore the feedback from jockeys. If they express concern and something happened you’re left in mid-air without a parachute. So there was no element of putting pressure on anyone,” he said.
Ryan added that watering had taken place in recent days with 10mms put on during Thursday and 7mms more on Saturday. However, the problem seemed to be the impact of a light shower of rain before racing began.
“The problem isn’t the bend. It’s the underfoot conditions,” said Ryan who added he plans to hold talks with the Irish Jockeys Association on the matter to see if similar problems can be avoided in future.
Jockeys Ryan Moore, Declan McDonogh and Séamus Heffernan were consulted by the stewards before the decision to abandon was made.
Top trainer Ger Lyons had a runner in the first of the abandoned races but commented: “Once the lads went in and said they were slipping you’ve got to call it a day. There’s no point fighting something you can’t change.”
In other news, Willie Mullins was out of luck in Paris in both the French Champion Hurdle and the French Gold Cup.
Djakadam never landed a blow in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris behind the winner On The Go.
However Bapaume did best of the Mullins team in the French Champion Hurdle and finished runner-up to De Bon Coeur. Bapaume’s three stable companions – Yorkhill, Killultagh Vic and Coquins Mans – were out of the money.