A FALSE start for the main race at the Stony Creek Cup meet on Saturday has been blamed on a starting gate malfunction.
Stony Creek Racing Club CEO Ralph Gallagher said it was the first time in the club’s history that horses and jockeys had to be brought back to the starting barrier for the club’s biggest race of the year.
“The gate is serviced every year by the appropriate experts, which makes it more difficult to determine what went wrong,” Mr Gallagher said.
He said technicians are now investigating the fault.
Aside from the hiccup, which wasn’t repeated in the final two races of the day after the cup had been presented, Mr Gallagher said it was a “wonderful day of racing.”
New Zealand gelding Ali Vital took out the $70,000 Betfair Stony Creek Cup, beating firm favourite Second King, a horse vying for a cup hat-trick after blitzing the opposition in 2012 and 2013.
“It was a damn good race,” Mr Gallagher remarked.
“For the cup, it was the best field I’ve seen in at least five years.
“But we had lots of really great fields overall, complete with great weather and a bumper crowd.”
After a slightly disappointing turnout to the 2013 cup meet, largely due to extremely hot weather, racegoers turned up in droves on Saturday.
“We had just on 2000 through the gate, which is absolutely fantastic,” Mr Gallagher added.
In an interesting bit of trivia, Mr Gallagher noted that Bunsen Burner, winner of the first race of the day, the 1600-metre Rekorderlig Cider Maiden Plate, was trained by Peter Clarke – a former jockey involved in the famous Stony Creek Cup triple dead heat.
Racegoers get one final chance to catch the action at Stony Creek when the club has its final meet for this season on Sunday, March 30.