Punters baffled as judge calls WRONG result of photo finish in dramatic Sandown race before stewards call a dead-heat

RACING at Sandown descended into farce as officials appeared to call the wrong result of the opening five-furlong handicap TWICE.

The judge originally called Phoenix Star the winner ahead of Hurricane Ivor – despite the photo-finish print suggesting the result was the other way around.

Hurricane Ivor (purple colours) appeared to have his nose in front on the photo-finish print
PA
Hurricane Ivor and Phoenix Star went head-to-head in the opener[/caption]

A stewards’ inquiry was called immediately and shortly afterwards a dead-heat was announced, adding to the confusion on course.

Officials said that faulty mirror equipment meant they could not conclusively call the William Haggas-trained Hurricane Ivor the winner.

The mirror used to help with photo finishes was ‘misaligned’ at the winning post.

And from the only print available to them, stewards could not split the two horses.

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BHA head of stewarding Shaun Parker said: “A photograph has been broadcast that shows a difference between the two horses at the line, but that’s the mirror image and it isn’t correct.

“The issue is the mirror image, which is out of alignment. That is something that happens very rarely.

“You can see from the picture that the third and fourth don’t line up on the line on the mirror image, either.

“We had to discard the mirror image and we couldn’t separate the two horses on the normal image, the actual photo, so it’s a dead-heat.

“We now need to hold an inquiry to determine why it happened.”

Punters and bookies were left fuming at the third photo-finish cock-up at Sandown in as many years.

In 2018, Rio Ronaldo was wrongly called the winner over the same C&D as today’s race – despite Vibrant Chords passing the post in front.

And in 2019, One For Rosie was incorrectly called the winner of the valuable EBF Final over hurdles.

One baffled punter said: “Dead heat call at Sandown. Mystifying. This needs pretty urgent clarification.”

Another Tweeted: “So now we just have to accept it’s a dead heat? Really?”

Another joked: “A dead heat?! I think the stewards need a trip to Specsavers!”

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