sport

Harley fall puts coup into context

An all-weather gamble on Wednesday was rendered insignificant after the shocking fall suffered by Martin Harley.

The British Horseracing Authority had already alerted the Gambling Commission to what they described as "the possibility of a complex betting-related issue involving races at Lingfield and Kempton" and some bookmakers suspended trading on seven races featuring horses with a connection to either owner Stephen Arnold or trainer Tony Newcombe.

Harley had ridden the first of five runners Arnold admitted to including in multiple bets (two were at Kempton) in the opening Coral Mobile "Just Three Clicks To Bet" Handicap when the Ann Stokell-trained 2-1 favourite Daniel Thomas finished a well-beaten eighth.

The incident happened in the following event when Harley was riding Newcombe's 7-4 favourite Red Art.

The pair were closing on the leaders inside the final furlong of the Ladbrokes Mobile Handicap when Red Art clipped the heels of horses in front of him and suffered fatal injuries, while Harley was thrown hard to the ground and had to be taken to East Surrey Hospital in nearby Redhill.

It was to cause a delay of nearly an hour and a half to wait for the ambulance before the remaining events were rushed through.

Presumido (5-1) held on by half a length from Alnoomaas and the trainer Simon Dow said: "It's a hollow victory when something like that happens, and our thoughts are with Martin and the other connections."

Arnold had tweeted before racing: "The horses I have backed in multiples are Daniel Thomas, Profile Star, Decent Fella, We Have A Dream, Brown Pete good luck."

He later said: "Bookies are ripping people off all the time, so why not tell people (about his bets)?

"I've had my money on already. It's just finding the right grade of races. It's not about stopping horses.

"I've had plenty of horses when I thought they've had no chance and they've still won.

"It just happened there was a load of races today that suited the horses I've got. The hardest part is finding the right races - that really is the art."

The impressive winner of the opener, Minstrels Gallery (9-4), ran in a Craven Stakes for John Jenkins but is now with Lucy Wadham and was striking for the first time since his maiden performance two years earlier.

"The owners have been very patient as he had suspensory problems," said Wadham. "He's only starting back so will probably run on the grass."

The bookmaking industry has been on high alert since four horses with a connection to the legendary gambler and trainer Barney Curley all won across the country on January 22.

The interest in Newcombe at Lingfield ended when he withdrew Dorback, an intended mount for Harley, from the Compare Bookmakers At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap but it put Arnold back in business.

Although Profile Star (3-1) is trained by Stokell, Arnold was asked if he had any connection with him and replied "none whatsoever".

Another of his horses, Pull The Pin, had set the pace to the home turn but William Carson sneaked up the inside rail and scored by a length and a quarter.

Arnold said: "He's improved since being with Ann and I thought he was thrown in on his old form. A year ago here he was third behind Tarooq and I thought he was a steering job."

In the Ladbrokes Handicap, though, Arnold's fortunes took another apparent turn for the worse when Decent Fella beat only a couple of horses home.

Carson and the Jim Boyle-trained Liberty Jack (11-4 favourite) landed the spoils.

Olly Stevens' last winner had been a notable one when Green Door took the Flying Childers Stakes in December, and he was finally back on the mark when Rock N Rouge justified 5-4 favouritism in the bookmakers.co.uk Maiden Stakes.

"Jim Crowley rode Green Door as well," said Stevens.

"She's a speedily-built filly who can come back here for handicaps."

Firmdecisions (7-1) built on two solid efforts when clinching the Download The Ladbrokes App Handicap under Adam Kirby, while Havelovewilltravel (2-1 favourite) claimed the concluding coral.co.uk Handicap for Ryan Moore and Jeremy Noseda.

Arnold's first entry on Kempton's evening card was also out of luck as the Stokell-trained Catalyze finished third behind Mr Bounty in division one of the six-furlong handicap.