Mistaking a rail at the start of the opening race at Huntingdon had dire consequences for eight riders as they picked up suspensions of around a fortnight each.
The majority of the field headed on an incorrect path to the right of a short strip of fencing in the very early stages of the Cromwell Stand Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle and nearly all the offenders continued to the finish.
Star youngster Sam Twiston-Davies was one of those involved, along with Peterjon Carberry, Harry Challoner, Henry Brooke, Gemma Gracey-Davison, Matt Crawley, Matt O’Connor and Nathan Sweeney. They were all banned for 12 days (January 28 – February 8).
All except Sweeney were handed another three days (February 9-11) for failing to pull up having knowingly taken the wrong course.
Rawaaj passed the post first but the race was awarded to the 5-2 favourite Dancing Daffodil and jockey Chris Ward, who would have been placed fifth otherwise.
Winning trainer Robin Dickin said: “You are supposed to keep left, but most of them have gone right down the chase course. Luckily my jockey walked the course with me last week and went again on his own today.”
Tom Molloy also took the correct route to claim second on Giollacca, while although Sovereign Spirit carried Richard Killoran the wrong way despite the jockey’s better intentions, but they retraced their steps to be third.
Such incidents do occur in jump racing from time to time but Molloy was unsympathetic to his colleagues, adding: “Only a couple of us went the right way and the rest didn’t. They didn’t walk the course.”
Ward and Dickin later managed another winner in the more conventional fashion through Roxane Bruere (7-1), who led home a one-two for the Stratford stable in the Racing UK Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.