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Is it now time to ban trainers having more than one runner in a race?

Mike de CockPat Cosgrave has been banned for six months after being found guilty of what is tantamount to fixing the result of a race.

He was found guilty of “improper riding”, the stewards ruling that he allowed a stable companion up his inside to win the race in which trainer Mike de Cock saddled two, Cosgrave’s mount Anaerobio and the eventual winner, Vercingetorix. After passing the three furlong pole Cosgrave is said to have looked behind him at least three times and then, off the home turn into the straight, allowed his horse to shift off the rail, allowing his stable companion to come through on his inside, to win the race.

Jockey and trainer deny any wrong doing and Christophe Soumillon, the rider of the winner, escaped any sanction following an interview with the stewards.

Guilty or not, wouldn’t it remove all possibility of ambiguity or perceived wrong doing, if a trainer was permitted to enter just one horse in a race?

We have seen trainers deliberately keep a horse in a handicap off top weight, to enable a better fancied stablemate to run from lower down the handicap and punters who are blissfully unaware of such tactics, backing the horse that has no chance of winning. That is wrong, isn’t it? The old saying, “if you cannot win, you cannot lose”, doesn’t apply here as no trainer is ever going to say, “the one up top is there for a reason other than trying to win”,  because, as we all know, every horse is trying to win…ahem.

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