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Sandown make finishing line changes after wrong winner error

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Sandown make finishing line changes after wrong winner error

One For Rosie (centre) was declared the winner at Sandown after an incorrect photo finish

Additional checks and a redesign of the winning post will be brought in after an error meant the wrong horse was named victor at Sandown last month.

One For Rosie was declared the winner of a photo finish before Third Wind was awarded the race.

That was only after it emerged the photo was taken from the wrong winning line.

There are two finishing lines at the course – one for steeplechases and one for races over hurdles.

A second check will be brought in to ensure the photo finish camera is focused on the right winning line, and luminous paint – in different colours – will be used on the winning posts.

“It has been re-designed so both riders and the public/media can see as clearly as possible which winning post is in use,” said the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

Emma Marley, head of racecourse operations at the BHA, said: “We have taken positive steps to ensure that the risk of an incident such as this occurring again have been minimised.

“The additional pre-race confirmation between the judge and photo finish operator, as well as the visual changes to the winning post, should ensure it is as clear as it can be to everyone which finishing post is in use.”

The changes will come into effect for the end-of-season meeting on 26-27 April.

How the fiasco unfolded

The 12-1 shot One For Rosie was declared to have won the handicap hurdle at the Surrey track on 9 March.

But as trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was giving interviews to mark the success, it emerged an error had been made.

Hughie Morrison’s Third Wind, at 9-1, was awarded the race by a short head, with some bookmakers paying out for both horses as winners.

Sandown clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said there was still a requirement for two winning lines because of the way the track is configured.

To use the hurdles finish line for steeplechases would lead to a bias equating to one length in distance for runners on the stands side.

“It was agreed by all parties involved in the discussion that this was too great a distance to countenance a change, as it compromised the overriding principle of providing ‘fair’ racing,” said Cooper.

It is not known whether any action has been taken against the racecourse judge.

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