Becher Chase false start enquiry concluded

09 Dec 14

A stewards enquiry was held at Aintree racecourse on Saturday 6 December, following the final race, at which a report was considered from the starter that the riders in the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase had lined up before being instructed to do so . After having received the starter’s report and gathering the views of several jockeys the enquiry was referred to BHA for further consideration.

Upon reviewing the start, speaking again to the starter and considering the evidence provided by the jockeys in the enquiry, BHA found that there was no case to answer in terms of the riders having lined up before being instructed, and the jockeys have been contacted to inform them that no action will be taken.

However, it is also clear from the recording of the start that a number of the riders broke out of a jig-jog and into a canter when approaching the tapes. The new Rules regarding starting procedures, which were developed in consultation with the PJA, are very clear that riders must approach the tapes at no more than a jig-jog before the starter drops his flag to start the race. It is the fact that four or five riders approach the tapes at a canter which caused the starter to call a false start.

Bearing in mind that the Rules are relatively new and that there were other mitigating factors at play, including the amount of room available for the largest ever field of 25 runners at the start of that particular race, it has been decided that no further action will be taken in regards to this specific incident.

BHA Media Manager Robin Mounsey said:

“On the whole we are very pleased with the way the new starting procedures have been working. There are learnings to be taken from the Becher Chase start from both sides and, having discussed the matter with the PJA, both parties are satisfied these are in hand. One specific learning was how noticeably well the procedures worked for the standing start after the false start had been called.”