Irish ace Mick Kinane is out of Wednesday's Sha Tin meeting, and faces two days housebound following a knee injury suffered before the final event at the New Territories course on Saturday.
Kinane was still in considerable pain yesterday following the antics of Emphasis, who dived under the gate of stall 14 seconds before the start of the Class Two race - taking the jockey with him. 'It was very painful and it still is. There were a number of abrasions which they had to clean up and the knee has swollen quite badly. 'I will not be able to move around for a couple of days and there is some damage to the tissue in the knee. Nothing has been broken,' said Kinane yesterday. The prime recommendation for Kinane is simply rest, but he is optimistic about being back in action for Saturday's Sha Tin meeting.
The frantic actions of Emphasis may be the subject of a more detailed investigation by the Jockey Club's racing department in relation to the 2,000-metre start. There has already been some concern expressed about the position of the start at this distance, which is right in front of the main Sha Tin public grandstand.
This makes the horses, and particularly those in the outside stalls such as Emphasis on Saturday, targets for a shouting or cheering crowd. And there is even more noise from the public before the start of every final race on a Sha Tin programme. There is a huge roar as the gates are about to spring open - in other words at exactly the time Emphasis broke through. Emphasis, and others, can easily be 'spooked' by crowd noise.
A likely compromise is not to have 2,000-metre events as the final race on a Sha Tin programme, as there is little realistic doubt that the high level of crowd noise can have a detrimental effect on horses placed so close to the public.