Ensuring a Fairly Run Race
Published: 11 June 2002
ENSURING THE FAIRNESS OF A RACE
For any race on any racecourse, there are at least six officials watching the race:
– four local stewards
– one stipendiary steward
– one or two stewards secretaries
The stewards and stewards’ secretaries watch and review the race with a view to identifying breaches of the Rules.
(a) Running and Riding Enquiries.
Where the Stewards consider there to be a possible breach of the Rules of Racing concerning the running and riding of a horse, they hold an enquiry under Rules 155-158 of the Rules of Racing. Rule 155(i) states that ‘Every horse which runs in a race shall be run on its merits.’
In 2001, there were 242 enquiries on the racecourse into possible breaches of Rules 155-158, of which 55 were in breach.
(b) Dope Testing Procedures
The Stewards have the power to dope test any horse after any race. On average about one in ten runners is dope tested. In 2001 six of the 7,328 samples taken tested positive for a prohibited substance. This represents 0.08% of all samples analysed. Cases of prohibited substances being intentionally administered are extremely rare, the vast majority of positive samples are caused by mistakes relating to the administration of legitimate medication.
In order to promote public confidence in British racing, in recent years the Jockey Club has:
i) Increased the number of race surveillance camera angles and the quality of pictures available to the stewards
ii) Introduced compulsory reports on improved and poor performance
iii) Introduced an off-course Monitoring System
iv) Invested heavily in the training of Stewards and Stewards Secretaries and added a professional vote onto the panel of racecourse stewards
(i) Increased the number of race surveillance camera angles and the quality of pictures available to the stewards
the stewards have at their disposal four camera angles from which they can make their decisions and spot every runner in the field:
– head on
– side on
– scout 1 (backsides from home turn to line)
– scout 2 (head on in the back straight)
(ii) Introduced compulsory reports on improved and poor performance
a) Instruction H14 states: ‘The Stewards of the Jockey Club give notice that trainers must report anything which might have adversely affected the performance of any horse they train in a race.’
This is done by a trainer or his/her representative and is reported to the Stewards Secretary or a Veterinary Officer. It should be done as soon as possible after a race, but should evidence come to light later, it can be reported directly to the Jockey Club or via a Stewards Secretary or a Veterinary Officer.
All reports are made public. If made on the day, via the public address, otherwise on the Jockey Club website and the Racing press.
b) Instruction H15 states: ‘The Stewards of the Jockey Club give notice that trainers may be approached by a Stewards Secretary following the performance of their horse to ask if they are able to account for its running. The trainer’s reply will be passed to the Stewards who will either publicise it or hold a Stewards’ enquiry. Failure to disclose such information will result in a report being submitted to the Stewards or the Stewards of the Jockey Club.’
This instruction covers not only poor performance but improved performance.
In 2001, Under Instructions H14 and H15, there were 2,110 reports on poor performance submitted to the Stewards.
c) Instruction H19, headed ‘Examination of Previous Runs following an Improved Performance’, states:
‘The Stewards of the Jockey Club give notice that, whilst there will be no departure from the current practice of stewards enquiring on the day of the race when a horse appears not to have been run on its merits, it is not always until improvement is revealed that there is sufficient evidence to warrant an enquiry. The Stewards of the Jockey Club have therefore decided to look more closely at a horse’s previous runs following an improved performance by adopting the procedure set out below:
(i) if a horse wins a Handicap, Rated Stakes, Classified Stakes or Rating Related Maiden Race without having been previously placed in the first four, a Stewards’ enquiry will be held to ascertain whether the connections can give any reasons as to the improved performance. The Stewards will note the explanations and forward them to the Jockey Club so that the riding of the horse in its earlier races can be reviewed in conjunction with this evidence.
(ii) Other cases of marked improvement of any sort will be dealt with as above
Since the Instruction came into effect in 1998, over 370 cases have been reviewed, and of those, only two have merited referral to the Disciplinary Committee. Of these, one was in breach and the other was not in breach of Rules 155-158.
(iii) Introduced an off-course Monitoring System
Jockey Club staff at Portman Square are responsible for running a monitoring system, which exists to review races run and check for possible breaches of the Rules of Racing.
Some types of races are targeted for reviewing (eg maiden races, large fields in handicaps etc). There is also a large selection of random reviews carried out on all types of races.
If any possible breach of the Rules is identified, it is put before the Disciplinary Committee for them to hold an enquiry under Rules 155-158.
(iv) Invested heavily in the training of Stewards and Stewards Secretaries
The stewarding team on each raceday is now a mix of professional and unpaid stewards. The stipendiary steward and stewards secretaries are full time employees of the Jockey Club. The local stewards on the panel are unpaid, and as such have no vested interest other than to see fair racing.
Three local stewards and the stipendiary steward make up the panel at an enquiry, with the stewards’ secretary presenting the case to the panel. The panel hears the evidence from the jockeys and trainers, and then comes to a decision.
Local stewards are selected, trained and approved by the Jockey Club. They are assigned to operate at individual racecourses, having either been originally put forward by the racecourse or applied directly to the Jockey Club.
The Stipendiary Stewards and Stewards Secretaries meet regularly at the Jockey Club’s headquarters for training days to aid the consistency of decision making.
In 2001, there were a total of 4,668 racecourse enquiries, compared to 4,101 in 2000.
29th May 2002