Moulin De La Croix wins one-horse race after boycott at Worcester

Sam Twiston-Davies
Sam Twiston-Davies

Moulin De La Croix was handed a win by walkover at Worcester as the 11 other horses in the field boycotted the Novices' Hurdle.

Trainers pulled out of the race in protest at low prize money as it fell below the level set out in the Horsemen's Group tariff by £900.

Moulin De La Croix took to the course alone to collect the full prize fund of £3,000.

Ten of the trainers who withdrew their horses have been fined £140.

Winning jockey Sam Twiston-Davies gave a victory salute as he passed the post and performed two Frankie Dettori-like flying dismounts on returning to the winner's enclosure.

The delegation of trainers decided to let one horse run rather than withdrawing all 12 so the prize money could be collected and distributed between the trainers.

Gary Moore was not fined for withdrawing Cabimas, who ran the previous day at Uttoxeter.

But Charlie Mann, Nicky Henderson, David Pipe, Donald McCain, Philip Hobbs, Venetia Williams, Alan King, Jonjo O'Neill, Seamus Mullins and Evan Williams received fines of £140.

Mann told At The Races earlier in the day: "The tariffs have been set and it's unacceptable that we're racing for the prize-money that we are.

"They have to understand that without us - owners and trainers - they can't perform.

"It will happen again next week and the week after as far as I'm concerned. Until we get this prize money up, this is going to happen."

Worcester is owned by the recently amalgamated Arena and Northern Racing Group.

Ian Renton, director of the new company, said: "It is disappointing that trainers have targeted such a well-meaning course which is doing all it can in the circumstances.

"Since the downgrading of the levy in 2009, Worcester has suffered a 60% reduction in daily contributions.

"We have put virtually all our income into prize money and we aim to meet the tariffs in all races next year."

Hobbs, the next president of the National Trainers' Federation, admitted to being "uncomfortable" with the action but that it was a last resort.

"I'm a little uncomfortable and would rather not go to these lengths, but we needed to do something," said Hobbs.

"Arena have recently had an enormous rise in their media rights income but prize money continues to fall. They can definitely do better. Worcester hoping to meet tariff next year just isn't good enough."

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