Haydock Already Lowered Fences Before Betfair Chase Uproar

Haydock Already Lowered Fences Before Betfair Chase Uproar

In one of the biggest controversies of the year, let-alone the weekend, it has emerged that Haydock's fences had already been reduced in height by ground staff, due to concerns from the BHA in the build-up to Saturday's Betfair Chase.

The extra tall obstacles on Merseyside led to seven fallers from 25 horses involved in chasing races, comparing that to only four fallers in larger fields, on the same card twelve months ago, which has since led to widespread criticism over the sports' safety.

The sports' governing body stated on Monday that the course had been told to make changes following an inspection last week, but inspector, Chris Dennis, had still felt the fences to be excessively high and overly stiff.

(Credit: Racing Post) Haydock's Clerk of the Course Kirkland Tellwright said on Saturday: "We reckoned we had them right and the plan was to repeat exactly the formula of last year to this.

"It's clear we've got them a bit too stiff and we're going to have to address that for the next fixture."

These comments have since been backed up by the BHA's Head of Media Robin Mounsey, who said: "The racecourse was visited by the inspector of courses in the week building up to the fixture on Saturday.

"The inspector noted the height and stiffness of some of the fences and included in his report that, while the course was generally in good condition, some of the fences should be reduced in height and cut back in the front to reduce stiffness.

"Whilst work was carried out to this extent and the course was raceable, on the Saturday the inspector of courses noted the fences were still quite high and on the stiff side.

"The racecourse has given assurances that they will be looked at again and the inspector of courses will visit the course ahead of their next fixture to ensure that the fences are in the optimum condition before being raced over again," he said.

Nicky Henderson - who was spotted measuring the final jump before the race, also blamed Might Bite's poor run due to the fact he was sent into 'panic mode' by the scopey and mountainous size of the fences, and lost his confidence after an early mistake.

Haydock have been told they must amended their fences again before their next National Hunt meeting, on the 5th of December.