Dramatic outcome to Hamilton opener

There was drama in the opener at Hamilton where Verinco ditched his rider Tom Eaves yards from the line when looking certain to win.

The horse was over a length in front of his rivals with the post in sight when he pricked his ears and jinked to the right, causing Eaves to go out of the side door.

Lucky Dan, who was in second place, was brought down giving 7lb apprentice Andrew Heffernan no chance of staying in the saddle. The two horses and both jockeys appeared to escape virtually unscathed.

The incident left the Sexual Health Sprint Maiden Auction Stakes at the mercy of Tony Hamilton’s mount Calley Ho (8-1), who had been booked for third spot.

“He was having a look about going down. I think he’s seen something in the crowd, but it’s the same wherever you go, people jumping around. He just got spooked, it was one of those things,” said Eaves.

“He gave no warning, he just did it all of a sudden. I’m OK,” he told Racing UK.

Verinco’s trainer Bryan Smart believes his horse was distracted by a racegoer.

“Someone’s rang me and told me there was a man waving a newspaper in the air,” said Smart.

“He’s going to win his race and he was running straight enough. Basically he’s won his race – he has seen something.

“He’s just propped and Tom’s gone up his neck.”

But veteran jockey Dale Gibson, the Northern safety officer, offered a different theory.

“I got here just in time to see the race. About 20 yards off the winning line the horse definitely had a look. I think the winning line has been cut too short,” he said.

“For a two-year-old it’s quite noticeable. It’s a fine line but I think they have gone down too low with the strip on the line.”

Backers of Verinco will still get their winnings from VC Bet, who are going to payout on the unlucky loser as well as on the winner, while Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin observed: “I cannot readily recall such an extreme set of events on an in-running horse racing market, or an amount as big as £45,000 matched on a 1.01 loser.

“But those who laid the 1.01 on Verinco have effectively backed a 100-1 winner, and they surely won’t strike a luckier bet for the rest of their lives.”

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