Haydock clashed with Navan several times during the afternoon
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Keith Melrose 6:06PM 21 JAN 2017
ON A day when two meetings were lost, it might be hoped that fans watching at home could see all British and Irish racing uninhibited.
However, more than a quick finger on the remote was required for viewers on television as Haydock and Navan’s races continually ran into each other during the busiest period of the afternoon.
The clash arose from Haydock’s decision to move back race times by five minutes following Ascot’s abandonment, for reasons explained by the BHA’s media manager Robin Mounsey.
“As a contingency for the loss of Ascot we agreed with the racecourse to delay all races at Haydock by five minutes, which would allow ITV to show a fourth race from Haydock, which we were keen to accommodate so that terrestrial viewers could enjoy as much racing as possible,” said Mounsey.
Many on social media voiced their frustration at the inability to spot the clash, but Mounsey went on to point out that it had been identified and acted upon. He continued: “As this would cause a clash with races at Navan we agreed with that racecourse that they would also delay.
“These type of scheduling movements happen regularly,” Mounsey added. “We are always keen to assist off-course betting, and have dedicated staff working on scheduling in real time.
“Our counterparts in Ireland are usually very accommodating to such requests. Unfortunately, on this occasion, when trying to enact this, the Irish stewards refused our request. We will follow up with the Irish authorities to determine the cause of the issue and ensure our regular cooperation is restored.”
While officials at Navan were happy to accommodate the BHA’s request, it was stewards at the course who blocked the move. It is understood that they saw no fit reason to delay their races.
Much was made of the clash of races on social media, with one tweeter observing that the finishes of the two races at 1.35, which included a Grade 2 novice chase at Haydock, took place within ten seconds of each other.