PUNTERS are in uproar after a jockey who gave up a huge lead in a 'very concerning' race was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Irate bettors were demanding a lifetime ban for rider Sheldon Chickeness after a clip of his tactics went viral.
The jockey was miles clear on King Witt only to mysteriously drop back on the straight before rallying to finish second.
Chickeness – who has 295 career winners and more than £1.3million in earnings – was the subject of an investigation into what went on.
Describing the race, the commentator at Assiniboia track in Canada, said: "He [Chickeness] is either very bad at trying to win, or very bad at trying to lose."
But bosses said they spotted nothing unusual in the race, sparking uproar from punters and even the racecourse boss.
The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba, who govern races in the area, said in a statement: "After this investigation, the LGCA determined that no rules of thoroughbred racing were violated and therefore, no adjustments to the order of finish are required."
Second-favourite King Witt ultimately lost by a neck to third-favourite Mucho Express under jockey Antonio Whitehall.
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Manitoba Jockey Club boss Darren Dunn, who requested the probe, said in response to the findings: "We strongly disagree with the conclusion they arrived at from this review.
"Our interpretation of the race is that the horse, King Witt, to our understanding, may have previously exhibited tendencies in how he navigates the turn for home and the early stretch drive of the racetrack that caused the jockey to believe that with a potential repeat of those tendencies, the safety of the other horses and jockeys in the race were in jeopardy and that this was reflected in his actions.
"And, while we will always support and encourage efforts of jockeys to be safe in the saddle for themselves, their fellow riders and the horses in the race, a distinction should be made when these actions occur and then affect the possible and likely ultimate outcome of the race through an overreaction by a jockey.
'SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISCIPLINED'
"We believe, in our opinion, that jockey Sheldon Chickeness did over-compensate in his handling of his mount, likely related to a safety concern, but given the clear lead the horse had at the time, he did affect, in our opinion, the final outcome of the race and the order of finish.
"We believe that, while consideration and understanding could be given to his safety intent, overriding this was the need to protect the wagering public in ensuring the integrity of the race remained intact and that the over-compensation by jockey Sheldon Chickeness should have been met with a determination of significant discipline against him."
And punters tended to agree.
Sky Sports Racing presenter Tim Carroll said: "Next time you think the stewards have made hash of one over here, keep in mind that this has been cleared by the 'Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority' of Manitoba.
"On reading the reasoning (defies belief), can only think the authority are very well named."
One said: "A person who has never watched a horse race could tell something was wrong with that race."
Another wrote: "How the hell is that possible?"
One punter said on Twitter: "This is just unbelievable."
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