Jockey's Fume When Sydney Cup Called A No-Race After Almoonqith Broke Down!
Written on the 10 April 2017
The joy of witnessing Winx claim her 17th straight win at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes turned to heartbreak when racegoers witnessed an unfortunate turn of events at the Sydney Cup at Randwick on Saturday.
Racing NSW stewards made the decision to call off the $2 million Sydney Cup after Almoonqith ridden by James Doyle and Who Shot Thebarman ridden by Blake Shinn collided on the turn leading out of the home straight.
Both jockeys avoided serious injury when they were dislodged from their horses, but unfortunately Almoonqith was euthanized on the track after breaking down. Who Shot Thebarman continued racing without his rider.
Shinn came to the aid of Doyle, helping him up after injuring his knee from the fall.
There's no doubt it's a dangerous sport and jockeys can be commended for putting their lives at risk every time they race. It's the only profession where ambulance drivers follow alongside someone doing their job.
At least half of the remaining jockeys in the Cup were unaware of the stewards' call and continued to race to the finish line.
Jay Ford, jockey of Mister Impatience heard the warning and understood the decision to call the race off.
"My first thoughts were to pull up because there were horses or jockeys lying on the track," he said.
Corey Brown is one of the jockeys who didn't know the race had been called off until after he pulled up and was first past the post on Goldophin owned Polarisation, followed by Chance to Dance and Goldolphin's Penglai Pavilion.
Brown was critical of the decision by stewards to call it a no-race.
"I didn't know it was a no-race until I turned around and started to come back," Brown said.
"Going past the post the first time I heard the crowd roar and I heard (race caller) Darren Flindell say one has broken down.
"I kept looking up to see if there was something coming head on towards us because that is a different story but nothing like that has happened.
"I was saying to Ollie (Damien Oliver) mid-race to keep to the right as there is a riderless horse.
"Then I come back and they say it is a no-race - how does that work?
"It's a furlong after the winning post and if it was at the 100m mark I can understand."
Oliver rode Assign in the Cup and was also critical of the steward's decision.
"It's a joke - if it had been on the home turn that is a totally different story," Oliver said.
"Safety and everything is paramount but there is a lot of money at stake and I've been starving myself for two weeks to ride mine for bloody nothing," he said.
Stewards insisted they had no other choice but to call the Sydney Cup a no-race due to safety reasons.
"The stewards were concerned as the field approached the 1600m in respect to the safety of the two riders - Blake Shinn on Who Shot Thebarman and James Doyle on Almoonqith," Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel said.
"Having regard to the condition of Almoonqith as the field made the turn into the 1600m the stewards discussed with the official starter who was positioned at the 800m mark as to whether the race would continue.
"Stewards became concerned that Almoonqith remained motionless on the track and had the potential to get up and run towards the field.
"Also Blake Shinn and James Doyle were still at the point of time situated on the track.
"The stewards in the order of safety and to ensure no one was going to be further hurt in respect to that incident declared the Sydney Cup a no-race on the basis of safety."
Apparently the siren was activated with barrier staff trying to warn riders the race was over. Van Gestel said it was unfortunate the message didn't get through to the entire field.
The Sydney Cup will most likely be re-run this month with a majority of the starters. A decision will be made today.
And on another note we'd like to express our condolences to family and friends of NSW country jockey Darren Jones who died after falling from his horse in the third race at Warialda in northern NSW. Leading female jockey Leanne Henry and apprentice Melanie Bolwell were also seriously injured after being caught up in the tumble.
(Top photo: Blake Shinn helps jockey James Doyle to his feet, Bottom photo: James Doyle after falling off Almoonqith - Photo Credit: AAP)