PUNTERS were left absolutely furious – and fearing for the future of the sport – after a farcical one-horse race.

The opening contest at Huntingdon on Sunday was declared a walkover after Pentland Hills’ only rival pulled out just before the start.

That meant all Nico de Boinville had to do was get the horse round in one piece to win the £12,728 first-place prize.

The race was due to be a straight match contest between 2019 Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills and the Chris Gordon-trained Aucunrisque.

But Gordon pulled his runner out in the paddock amid concerns the ground was too firm.

That left Nicky Henderson’s horse the easiest task of all on his chasing debut.

The bizarre scenes sparked a flurry of comments online, with most livid over the lack of runners.

Others expressed panic over the future of racing, with the six-race card attracting just 29 declarations in all.

One said: “Honestly the state of racing in this country.

“Imagine just going to Huntingdon today and watching one horse going around the track. It’s truly embarrassing.”

Another posted: “This meeting should be abandoned.”

One Twitter post read: “The Huntingdon card was shocking enough before this walkover, now it’s just a bigger farce.

“British racing is absolutely farcical at times.”

Another furious punter wrote: “Sad for the sport. Huntingdon once again coming up short.”

A fellow racing fan said: “Embarrassing scenes at Huntingdon. Complete and utter disregard for the racing public sadly.

“Pulling a horse out causing a walkover five minutes before the off simply isn’t good enough.”

More to follow.

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