Has this happened to you?
Imagine the scenario. You've prepped a horse for a race, made the entry, the 48 hour declaration to run. You load the horse, arrive at the races, only to discover when you show the passport at the decs desk that you've brought the wrong animal. Time to crawl under a stone.
This is what happened to Milton Harris' intended runner at Newton Abbot this afternoon. What looked a most uncompetitive bumper, with just four runners, became 25% less competitive with one slash of the pen. A bemused Aussie Moon stayed at home and swerved an opportunity to win a relatively easy race, and another horse, equally bemused, took a road trip.
To add insult to injury, the race looked jinxed from the off. The Chris Honour-trained Kubinski dropped his rider en route to the start, so the race started 15 minutes late with a substitute rider. At least, he had the courtesy to win.
As to the wider issue.. why stage so many bumpers when they don't fill? Time was when Bumpers were divided as they reached the safety factor. Nowadays, it's quite usual for them to have single figure fields. Whilst this provides more winning opportunities for the smaller number of runners, it doesn't look like value for the Levy or for spectators.
A whole new topic all of its own.