Punters rage as The Steward is given massive head start and wins
Punters were fuming after an unruly horse was given a huge head start at Newcastle and went on to win.
The Steward (9-1) ran off before the runners were sent on their way for the QuinnCasino 'Jumpers' Bumper' NH Flat Race (division two) – and raced keenly in the lead for Charlotte Jones.
His exuberance carried him further clear with every stride, as the other jockeys let him go – and even commentator Darren Owen was not sure he would see out the two-mile distance.
"The Steward, racing freely, has already shown that he is capable of doing that by bolting past the runners on the way to the start. And well it's a repeat performance by the look of things," he said.
"The Steward now going off at a rate of knots and clear of the others."
At a top speed of 39mph, The Steward galloped on and was more than 30 lengths clear of the chasing pack.
As the TV camera panned around to show viewers the rest of the runners, The Steward was a blurred dot in the distance.
And the other riders didn't get a good view of him either up the straight, as Jones, earlier aboard a 50-1 winner for trainer James Moffatt, kept up their advantage.
Zamarkhan made headway, but could not get near and was still 13 lengths behind at the line.
Owen was as surprised as anyone and said: "We take it all back, The Steward has won and has absolutely destroyed them. Amazing performance."
Before rushing off for her next ride, Jones told Sky Sports Racing the ten-year-old, more recently known as a hurdler, is a bit of an enigma.
"The Steward does what The Steward wants," she said.
Punters who backed some of the other horses were not happy with the result – and one was left "speechless" by the unusual scenes.
Another described it as "ridiculous", while a third called for a stewards' enquiry.
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