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The rule book was ignored as common sense prevailed in the Australian Hurdle at Sandown.

Racing Victoria stewards considered declaring the jumps feature a no-race after jockeys elected not to take the last obstacle on Saturday.

Sandown track staff inadvertently removed the wing from the hurdle.

“The riders understandably avoided it as they were concerned whether there was a safety issue,” Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said.

“We didn’t have anyone direct them around it but we can understand why they took that action.”

Bailey said the circumstances would have been different if one horse had jumped the hurdle.

John Allen, who rode the $1.40 favourite Gingerboy into second place, said with the wing missing he could see no reason to jump the hurdle.

“We didn’t know if someone was injured on the other side,” Allen said.

The race was taken out by Arch Fire, giving the Robert Smerdon-trained jumper back-to-back victories in the feature race.

Ridden by Jamie Mott, Arch Fire ($5) scored by a short half-head from Gingerboy with Earthbound ($21) three quarters of a length away third.

Arch Fire’s win was Smerdon’s fifth Australian Hurdle success in the past seven years.

Mott, who landed his first feature jumps win after only landing his first at Warrnambool earlier in the month, said he had ridden Arch Fire closer to Gingerboy than on previous occasions.

“I thought if he gets an easy lead and kicks away again I will struggle to beat him again,” Mott said.

“To ride my first feature so early is unreal.”

 
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