The Curley Coup concentration has been on punters and bookmakers. What of the connections of the other runners in those four races? I thought the situation was perfectly summed up by forumite Bachelors Hall on The Racing Forum:
Using a boxing analogy, you’ve signed up to fight a nine stone journeyman only to find yourself stood in the ring watching a rabid looking 1989 Mike Tyson marching towards you. Would you feel comfortable staying in the ring? Or would you go to the commissioner and withdraw from the fight citing a breach of contract.
Transferred to horse racing, you’ve entered your 55 rated plodder in a 0-60 handicap only to discover it’s a 0-60 with an 85 rated animal thrown in at the whim of Barney Curley.
The owners of the original entrants knew roughly what they were up against and were competing against equals. When it transpired that a Curley horse was unplugged, that was no longer the case. Had I legitimately trained my horse to run on its merits in the appropriate class, given the circumstances, I would feel entitled to have my entry fee refunded as well as potential loss of earnings and compensation for the time it will take to ready my horse again.