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Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Friday, 18 February 2011

Racing resumes at Newbury after deaths of two horses

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and trainer Paul Nicholls (right)
Ferguson alongside trainer Paul Nicholls (right) at Newbury

Cheltenham Gold Cup hopeful What A Friend was beaten as racing resumed at Newbury six days after two horses were killed by electrocution.

The horses died in the parade ring before the first race of Saturday's fixture, which was abandoned after the opening contest was completed.

What A Friend, part-owned by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, was beaten by a head by stablemate Noland.

Fair Along produced a storming finish to take third in the rescheduled race.

Trainer of the first two past the post, Paul Nicholls, said despite odds-on favourite What A Friend finishing second he was confident that an adjustment in headgear would suit him next time out.

"It was adequate. Jockey Harry Skelton said from the minute he jumped off he was hating the ground," said Nicholls.

BHA expert Professor Tim Morris on cause of horse deaths

"He'll be better on better ground and I might just put a pair of blinkers on him in the Gold Cup.

"You'd definitely let him take his chance and one race I'd love to run him in is the Grand National, although it might be a year too soon.

"But if it's very soft at Cheltenham, we might find something at Aintree instead."

On Thursday, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced the deaths of horses Fenix Two and Marching Song were most likely due to "accidental electrocution".

Post-mortems revealed both suffered heart attacks and no suspicious substances had been found.

An electricity cable which ran beneath the parade ring has since been disconnected and removed.

The two horses died on Saturday before the first race, which was run before the remainder of the meeting was abandoned.

Newbury must move on - Henderson

Newbury officials assured the BHA the parade ring area is safe for use by horses and humans.

Meanwhile, 12-1 shot Recession Proof, a son of Rock of Gibraltar who won seven consecutive Group One races, beat Bothy by a short-head after a photograph in the Trophy Hurdle, with Notus De la Tour third having made the running for much of the race.

The 3-1 favourite Walkon beat only one horse home.

In the Game Spirit Chase, the Nicky Henderson-trained French Opera defeated Tchico Polos.

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see also
Newbury horses were electrocuted
17 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
Troubled Newbury card rescheduled
15 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
Tragedy at the races
14 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
Newbury horse 'lucky to survive'
13 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
Inquiry launched after horses die
12 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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