Newbury's abandoned card to be restaged on Friday

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Newbury's high-quality card lost on Saturday under the most macabre of circumstances is set to be restaged on Friday 18 February after the course has been passed safe for both horses and humans following the suspected electrocution of two horses in the parade ring prior to the opening race on Totesport Trophy day, writes Elliot Slater. 

What should have been one of their biggest race days of the whole year, with the big handicap hurdle supported by key Cheltenham Festival trials the Aon Chase and the Game Spirit Chase, was abandoned after Fenix Two and Marching Song both dropped dead at the same spot in the parade ring within moments of each other, apparently having somehow been electrocuted. Two other horses, Kid Cassidy and The Merry Giant, also suffered reactions at the same spot, but were later deemed fit to race, although both ran poorly. However, anyone who had bet on horse racing would have cared very little about the result by that point.

After the horrific event the Newbury management had no option other than to abandon the card after the first race in the interests of the safety of the horses and the public, but now, following extensive tests at the point in the parade ring where the horses died, a section of electric cable has been removed and the area has been declared safe by Southern Electric. The course has decided to restage the card on Friday, although most of the races will be run with reduced prize money, almost certainly as a result of the meeting having lost its terrestrial television slot which would have made it more attractive to sponsors, as well of the additional costs of rearranging the fixture. 

Most trainers seem happy to bring their horses back to Newbury on Friday as an investigation continues into the exact cause of the incidents. The card will begin early at 12.10 and should provide more clues as to the wellbeing of a number of Cheltenham Festival candidates.
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