In farcical scenes Racing Victoria was forced to hold a re-draw for Saturday’s group 1 million-dollar Empire Rose Stakes after the initial draw did not include a ball for every barrier.
Yearning, trained by Wayne Hawkes, was ‘given’ barrier 14 when the perspex barrel containing balls with barrier numbers on them was one ball short.
Officials initially gave Yearning the missing barrier 14 but then put all 18 balls back in the barrel, deciding whichever number was drawn would be given to Hawkes’ horse, and any horses outside of that would move outwards.
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But remarkably 14 was drawn again.
Eventually it was determined an electronic re-draw would be held for the race to be held on Derby Day at Flemington over 1600m.
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“What happened was all the horses’ names were called out and the steward pulled the marble out and said, ‘horse x, barrier such and such’,” Hawkes explained on SEN’s Whateley.
“It came to our horse Yearning that was the last horse to be drawn. The steward went to the barrel, and the barrel was empty. Nothing at home, zero, nada, zilch.
“So they just said, ‘Ah well, number 14 hasn’t been drawn out so we’ll give you 14’. So my phone has gone ballistic.
“The owner’s racing manager John Fryer was watching so I called him back, my father (John) has rung me. Long story short, I’ve called the aficionados and said, ‘I’m getting pressure here, so where do we stand?’
“I said it’s not your fault but I just need a comeback so I can go back to people and tell them.
“The chief steward (on duty) rang me back and said, ‘You won’t believe this, but they have drawn barrier 14 again… and we videoed it!’
“A one in 18 chance. She (Yearning) had 14 because it was the last non-number there, she’s got 14 again and he (the steward on duty) was very fast to say, ‘And we videotaped it!’”
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Respected sports voice Gerard Whateley declared immediately a re-draw needed to be held.
“I’m going to take a lot of convincing that this is acceptable,” he said.
“If I’m the head of integrity, I’m just ringing and saying, ‘No, we need to do that whole draw again’.
“Honestly, I can’t believe how we’re being treated. We’re being treated like lemmings!
“Totally randomly, 14 was drawn again by the greatest coincidence that could possibly transpire.
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