An English jockey had to be protected by the police from outraged punters for allegedly throwing a race at the Royal Western India Turf Club in Mumbai on Sunday.
Martin Dwyer, who won the Indian Derby last year, was riding Ice Age, the 6-to-4 favourite to win the last race of the day, the Mumbai Mirror reports. Ice Age had made a strong dash at the finish and was closing in on the leading two horses when Dwyer allegedly held her back to keep her from winning. Instead, she finished third.
The paper reports that “within seconds” a crowd of betters had moved to the parade paddock. ‘Shouting slogans and demanding that the race be declared null and void, incensed punters surrounded the weighing room where racing officials are stationed,” the paper stated.
Meanwhile Dwyer tried to enter the jockey’s room unseen but was spotted but was spotted by the crowd, who attempted to grab him. Luckily for Dwyer, the club’s security officers intervened and allowed him to seek refuse near the committee’s room.
Faced with such an uproar, the RWITC decided to declare Ice Age a non-starter, and ordered all money bet on the horse to be refunded. However, this did not pacify everyone as now those who had bet on the horse to finish in the top four felt they were not being given a fair deal.
Eventually, police had to be called in from the Tardeo police station to control the crowd, which continued protesting into the night, according to the Mirror.
The protest raised questions about the management of racing and how such incidents are handled. One club member, who was quoted anonymously in the paper, called it a black day for racing.
The club’s chief stipendiary steward, Pradyumna Singh, said that Dwyer’s riding appeared to be doubtful and an inquiry had been ordered.
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