Irish trainer, Jessica Harrington, apologized to the public after she "won" the 5:10 two-year-old fillies' maiden at Galway going 7 furlongs on Tuesday with the wrong horse - the three-year-old AURORA PRINCESS. The filly that was supposed to run was ALIZARINE.
AURORA PRINCESS, who has won 2 of 9 starts with a rating of 79, was supposed to run later in the card. She finished first under jockey Shane Foley, beating the 5-4 favorite, TWINKLE, trained by Aidan O'Brien. However, at the identification query, it was announced and she was officially disqualified.
In Ireland, the horse's microchips are scanned and the horse identified as they come onto the racecourse and then again when the winner leaves the parade ring. However, why the horse was not identified correctly at the start was not revealed.
After the disqualification was announced, AURORA PRINCESS was scratched and listed as a "non-runner" from the later race in which she was supposed to run and disqualified from the accidental maiden race.
Harrington told the Racing Post, "We ran the wrong horse. They are two bay fillies that look exactly the same. One has a tiny little bit of white on the back of her hind coronary band but they are the same size and very similar."
Aiden O'Brien had a similar identification incident occur when MOTHER EARTH and SNOWFALL both carried each other's numbers and jockeys in last year's Fillie's Mile at Newmarket.
The racing rules regarding this situation gets a bit tricky. ALIZARINE was not declared a "non-runner" because a horse did run in her place in the race, it was just not her. TWINKLE ended up the winner of the race and AURORA PRINCESS disqualified.
The final result of the race was TWINKLE, RADIYKA, PAST TIME, BUENAVENTURA, and ELIZABETH'S PRIDE.
Jessica Harrington has been training racehorses since 1989 and was one of Ireland's top 3-day event riders before that, representing the country at the European, world and Olympic levels. She was won at the top levels of European racing including the Irish Grand National and the Cheltenham Cup.