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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Controversy at Fillies' Mile as Aidan O'Brien horses run with wrong numbers and jockeys

Wrong saddles put on runners in Friday’s Group One at Newmarket.

Mother Earth (left) was actually third past the post in the Fillies’ Mile.
Mother Earth (left) was actually third past the post in the Fillies’ Mile.
Image: Alan Crowhurst/PA

CONFUSION REIGNED AT Newmarket on Friday after Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall was named as the third-placed finisher in the Fillies’ Mile, when it was in fact her stable companion Mother Earth.

A field of 10 runners went to post for the Group One feature on the Rowley Mile, with victory going to 5-2 favourite Pretty Gorgeous, trained by Aidan’s son, Joseph O’Brien, by half a length from the John Gosden-trained Indigo Girl.

It was thought 50-1 shot Snowfall had finished a further half-length away in third in the hands of James Doyle, with Mother Earth eighth of the 10 runners under William Buick.

However, it subsequently became evident the horse that had passed the post in third was in fact 18-1 chance Mother Earth, the darker of the two fillies, with the lighter Snowfall back in the field.

While Doyle was correctly sporting the pink cap and the number nine saddle cloth assigned to Snowfall, he was in fact riding Mother Earth.

O’Brien admitted his on-course staff had mixed up the two fillies.

He told the PA news agency from his Ballydoyle base: “I didn’t see the race, I just listened to it. Someone brought it to my attention then afterwards – that someone had tweeted that they were the wrong fillies.

“I went straight away to look at the race and the minute I saw them coming out of the stalls I knew that they were the wrong fillies.

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“Obviously I rang the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) straight away and said it to them.

“What happened was that our lads put the wrong saddles on the wrong fillies.”

The BHA will hold an enquiry before racing at Newmarket on Saturday.

A BHA spokesperson said: “The stewards have been made aware of a potential issue regarding the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket today which have resulted in the incorrect rider and number cloths being carried by the two horses trained by Aidan O’Brien.

“A stewards enquiry will be held on the racecourse tomorrow to consider all of the relevant evidence and determine the course of events and what action needs to be taken.”

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