PUNTERS slated this ‘farcical’ Brighton race which saw a flip start for a five-and-a-half furlong sprint.
Stall handlers were stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it to the course in time for the 2.30pm opener.
That meant the gates could not be used and the twitchy sprinters were made to race from the sort of start you see in jumps racing.
Fog at the track made conditions even worse.
An official BHA update said before the race: “Fixture Notice @BrightonRace: Due to stall handlers being delayed in traffic, Race 1 will commence via a flip start.”
Punters were simply floored by the development, with one calling it ‘shambolic’.
Another wrote: “This is just unreal.”
One comment read: “Absolute shambles! Half the horses weren’t even in line! Over a 5f race, that’s just a joke!”
Another punter posted: “Farcical. An 11-runner five-furlong sprint as well.”
While one post read: “Flip start in a sprint over 5.5f? Wow. Imagine you’d backed one in this.”
David Probert, winning jockey on 9-2 Mr Fayez, said: “You can’t see much. Visibility is a bit heavy. Hopefully they can get the stalls back in.”
Racing has since been delayed by 30 minutes with the stall handlers, who were travelling to the track in a minibus, still stuck on the M25.
If the stalls don’t get there in time then the next race for two-year-olds will be a flag start.
Officials are also waiting for the fog to lift – with jockeys reporting visibility to be poor – before racing can resume.
Three horses, Get Busy, Kodi Dancer and Thank You Lord, were withdrawn before the start.
While 17-2 punter favourite Boom The Groom had absolutely no chance after rearing and whipping round at the start.
Three of the ten horses in the race were beaten over 20 lengths over the minimum-distance race.
Mr Fayez was seen – just about – on TV pictures emerging from the fog to lead in the final 110 yards.
The horse saw off 100-30 fav Notre Maison by a neck, with 9-2 Under Curfew a further half-length back in third.
But the result left a sour taste in the mouth of punters, who backed horses unaware of the development at the track.
Racing TV presenter Tom Bull posted on Twitter: “In that kind of situation at Brighton, should that race be voided?
“Completely unacceptable for those left behind at the start, especially over the extended 5f. What chance have they got?”
One livid punter wrote: “Just void this shambles to make it look a little better.”
And another said: “Should have been void. What a joke.”
Sky Sports Racing pictures showed track officials in conversation with jockeys before going to walk the track to see if conditions were safe.
At the time of writing it was not clear if racing would be able to continue.
The weather was set to improve at 3pm but at 3.20pm visibility was still reduced.
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