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Ludlow defends fence policy after pile-up.

Byline: Graham Cunningham

LUDLOW moved to deny claims that they had placed horses and riders in unnecessary danger yesterday after the latest pile-up at the track's notorious fourth-last fence.

Clerk of the course Bob Davies, who has

already stated that the fence riders call `Tricky Trevor' will be resited at the end of this season, defended his policy after three horses had come to grief in the Langford For Meat Novices' Chase.

Hardly, Golden Eagle and Camus des Mottes-ridden by Jim Culloty, Robert Widger and Gerry Supple respectively-were pressing the leaders when they fell heavily at the first fence in the home straight.

Hardly and Camus des Mottes ran away

unharmed, but Robert Widger needed medical attention as he lay on the track, and Golden Eagle lay behind screens for more than an hour before finally rising groggily to his feet after the last race.

Paul Nicholls and Kim Bailey are among the trainers to have complained about the fence, but Davies feels that "everything possible" has been done to make it safe.

He added: "We've modified the approach and the shape of the fence, and at the last two meetings the changes seemed to be working well."

However, Culloty was one of several riders swift to air his opinion on the fence, arguing that "it's always been a problem and the problem needs addressing now".

He added: "It's poorly sited straight after a bend, and on top of that, the ground after it is false and goes away from you.

"Look at the video and you'll see that at least a couple of the fallers today took a stride

before they fell.

"As far as I'm concerned they should either move it right now, or have it dolled off until it can be moved at the end of the season."

Supple described the fence as "bloody horrible", and feels that continuing to jump it in its present form is putting riders in a no-win situation.

"I know that fence well enough not to go for heroics there," he said, "but it's always been a massive problem and still is.

"They say they'll resite it at the end of the year, but we've had a lucky escape today and the way things are going the end of the season could be too late."

Davies spent the latter part of the afternoon in discussion with the Racecourse Department at Portman Square and revealed that course inspector Peter Hobbs will be on site to address the problem on Monday week.

nLudlow report, page 60
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 22, 2001
Words:422
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