Oops! Golf ball leads to bizarre fall at Sandown Park

Jockey Kieren Fox avoided injury on Friday after a golf ball was flicked in front of his horse during a race at Sandown Park.

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A bizarre incident at Sandown Park on Friday saw jockey Kieren Fox suffer an unexpected fall after a golf ball had been thrown up into the path of a rival horse.

Fox hit the turf inside the final furlong of the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes after his mount, Luxford, veered suddenly to the right.

Replays of the incident showed Luxford had apparently been distracted by a flying golf ball, which had been flicked up off the turf before hitting the helmet of rider Charlie Bennett and across Fox's line of sight.

The racecourse at Sandown Park is situated next to a golf course. Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course at Sandown, was left to explain the unusual situation.

Cooper was quoted by Racing UK as saying: "What seems to have happened is that the winner [Big Lachie] has flicked up the golf ball, which has then appeared to hit the helmet of Charlie Bennett in behind and ricocheted off him across Luxford.

"Obviously this is something we never like to see happen and in my 20 years of clerking we've only had three or four examples of this.

"I am satisfied that we take all reasonable precautions to make sure that the course is as clear as we can make it but we accept that there will be some balls buried in the grass.

"We have a 14-strong team that walk the course, and other parts of the track, looking for golf balls as golf is played here year round other than on days when racing takes place.

"From my experience, even with that many people doing checks on the course, unless they see or tread on a golf ball there will be golf balls buried on the course. It is inevitable.

"Even where there is netting next to the driving range we have found them. It is not a unique occurrence and we probably have this happen once every three or four years.

"The horse and rider are fine and the stewards looked into it and after talking to me and hearing the explanation of the routine we take they have treated it as accidental."

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