Imagine the situation-You’re a young jockey on board a well backed favourite, who is a far from straightforward ride,and needs plenty of cajoling to show their true ability.
Approaching the second-last you have ridden the perfect race and have things well under control when you spot an official waving a flag, and hear someone shout not to jump the hurdle.
You literally have a split second to decide what action to take and no time at all to mull over the ramifications of that decision.
Unfortunately, young Danny Cook made the decision to bypass the obstacle, and now has to live with the consequences after his mount Gaspara was disqualified for taking the wrong course.
It was the third time in just over a year that Cook has committed an offence of this type and will now have to face a BHA disciplinary hearing.
The jockey, attached to the David Pipe stable, received a 28-day ban for taking the wrong course at Cheltenham in December and was suspended for 12 days for a similar offence at Huntingdon in March last year.
Pipe revealed that the youngster had received " a bollocking " but was quick to add " I’ll go through what happened with Danny once we get today out of the way but it was a split-second decision and there was a man waving a flag."
Newton Abbot clerk of the course Jason Loosemore explaining the action of the flagman said: " They can be deployed as an early heads-up to jockeys that there is a hazard, be it an injured horse or jockey.
" It is not an indication that you’re now set to bypass the obstacle. We’d then display the fluorescent chevrons.
" From my point of view, my team worked in accordance with the instructions and it’s highly regrettable the situation has happened. I feel sorry for Danny Cook."
I have no doubt that Newton Abbot have no case to answer but with the hazard ( the ill-fated Future Vision ) well wide of the race in progress the question must be asked:
Just what purpose was served by a flagman, in a position that, instead of helping oncoming jockeys, could only add to any possible confusion?