No Horses Finish

Beforehand, the Totepool Flexi Betting at Cheltenham Festival Novices’ Chase, run over 2 miles 4 furlongs, at Towcester on March 17, 2011 hardly appeared a horse racing moment that would make history, but it did. Just four runners went to post, but that number was reduced to two when the leader, Zhukov, and Cengiz, who appeared to be tailing off in any case, fell independently at the same fence.

The remaining runners, the market leaders Identity Parade, ridden by Adrian Lane, and Radharc Na Mara, ridden by Peter Toole, continued to duel until approaching the second-last fence, where it became clear that the former had taken command of his toiling rival. However, on the run to the final fence, no sooner had commentator uttered the words ‘in safe keeping’ than Identity Parade nigh on refused, barely clambered over the obstacle and fell. Radharc Na Mara, who had been about four lengths behind, jumped the fence successfully and, momentarily, took the lead. However, he stumbled on landing, jinked right and unseated Toole, who beat his fist on the ground in frustration.

As Radharc Na Mara had unseated rider, rather than fallen, Toole briefly discussed remounting with a steward, but eventually walked the horse back to the stables. With remounting after the start of a race banned, upon pain of disqualification, by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) in November, 2009, this was the first time since the rule change that all the horses in a race had failed to finish. Thus, the Totepool Flexi Betting at Cheltenham Festival Novices’ Chase made history as the first race to be declared void for that reason.

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