Disciplinary Panel’s written reasons regarding an unsuccessful appeal against the decision not to reverse placings in the Weatherbys Hamilton £300,000 2-y-o Stakes
1. On 23 September 2015, the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) heard an appeal against the decision by the Doncaster Stewards, following an inquiry on 10 September 2015, to leave unaltered the placings of the first two horses home in the Weatherbys Hamilton £300,000 2-Y-O stakes. MR LUPTON (IRE), ridden by Jamie Spencer, beat HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE), ridden by Sean Levey, by a head. The Stewards held an inquiry in which they found that MR LUPTON (IRE) interfered with HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) as a result of careless riding by Spencer, but that this did not affect the result.
2. The connections of HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) appealed against the decision not to reverse the placings, and their case was presented by Graeme McPherson QC. Lyn Williams represented the BHA. The appeal took the form of a rehearing, as the Rules prescribe.
3. One furlong from the winning post, HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) and MR LUPTON (IRE) were racing on the stands rail side of the course. HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) was about 1 ½ lengths up on MR LUPTON (IRE), who was racing to HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE)’s right. Both horses then took a leftwards line. By the ½ furlong marker, HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) was clearly leading the race overall and MR LUPTON (IRE) had reduced his deficit to just ½ length. MR LUPTON (IRE) was then taking a marginally more pronounced leftwards line, and about 50 yards from the finish made contact with HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE), when MR LUPTON (IRE) was only fractionally down on HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE). This was no more than brushing against HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE). Neither jockey was required to stop riding because of this incident. Spencer on MR LUPTON (IRE) took prompt steps to pull MR LUPTON (IRE) away from HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) with his right hand. However, both horses continued their leftwards line to the winning post, though they gradually moved apart from each other, so that by the winning post there was more than a horse’s width between them. MR LUPTON (IRE) got the better of the battle and won by a head.
4. For the connections of HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE), Mr McPherson argued that interference had been occurring before they brushed together, and because MR LUPTON (IRE) was pressurising HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) into taking a leftwards racing line. The Panel did not agree. HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) had set off on such a course from the furlong marker, before MR LUPTON (IRE) had come alongside. The contact between them about 50 yards from the winning post was minor. It did not cause any interference with HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE)’s action or Levey’s ability to ride. While it did marginally increase the leftwards drift of HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE), the difference which this made to the ultimate margin between the two was negligible. Nor could it sensibly be said that, after the contact, HUMPHREY BOGART (IRE) was intimidated into taking a leftwards line: the gap between the two gradually increased from the moment of contact. Throughout the final furlong, Spencer was always travelling more strongly than Levey, and the Panel accepted Spencer’s description of his win as “snug”. Unlike Levey, he did not have to resort to use of the whip at any stage.
5. The Panel therefore dismissed the appeal. The placings remain as they were left on the day by the Doncaster Stewards. Though this was for the Panel a clear case in the end, it was decided to return the deposit lodged as a condition of bringing the appeal. Mr McPherson’s thoughtful advocacy just about gave the Panel enough to think about before reaching its final decision.
Notes to editors:
1. The Panel for the hearing was: Timothy Charlton QC (Chair), Celina Carter, Ian Stark.