Did you ever hear the one about the racehorse who escaped from a course and went into town for a pizza?
Yes, it does sound like the opening line from one of the worst ‘dad jokes’ in history’, but it actually came true on Saturday at Uttoxeter’s national hunt racecourse.
Oh, and horse is called Reckless Behavior, rather aptly we’d say, as if this unlikely sounding story couldn’t get any better.
A Horse Walks Into a Pizza Parlour….
The Caroline Bailey trained seven-year-old was expected to go off as the 5/2 favourite in the H Brown & Son Recycling Handicap Chase at the venue on Saturday afternoon, and he did at least make it to the start line.
But it was there that he must have got whiff of a margherita, as he whipped around as the tape came up, unseating rider Sean Bowen, before proceeding to crash through the security barriers on the perimeter of the track.
Nobody was able to bring the horse to a halt as he bolted for the exit, and before long he was making his way towards Uttoxeter town centre with a convoy of cars in tow.
As if the story couldn’t get any more bizarre, Reckless Behaviour was eventually brought under control by a woman from one of the local pubs who saw the horse pass by the window; just as he was about to step hoof into a nearby chain of Domino’s Pizza.
Clerk of the course at Uttoxeter, Eloise Quayle, later said:
“We were lucky to have a lot of additional support on the site, with it being Midlands Grand National day, so when he broke loose we had racecourse staff from Worcester and Chepstow after him.
“Thankfully, a woman came out of a pub as he was cantering down the high street. He slid to a halt and she got hold of his rein and he just stood there. We’ll be reviewing what happened.”
And Caroline Bailey, whose charge has run well at Uttoxeter before, was thankful that he had escaped unharmed from the episode. She said:
“He broke through the fence and got out of the racecourse and I think he went past a few roundabouts. However, he wasn’t going very fast and was being tracked by an ambulance and some cars.
“I’m not quite sure where he ended up – I think he was outside a pub when they got hold of him. Luckily, he was okay afterwards and he’ll run again at Southwell tomorrow [Monday].”
Bowen, who fortunately escaped unhurt from the fall, said:
“He certainly goes by his name, I suppose! I heard that after he went through the rails he ended up by Domino’s.”
And as if to prove there were no hard feelings, Bowen agreed to take the ride on Monday when Reckless Behavior was entered into a handicap race at Southwell; just 48 hours after his Uttoxeter adventures.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan from the get-go as the horse made a number of jumping errors and weakened considerably, forcing Bowen to pull him up with three left to jump.