More oversight of photo finish calls following corrected result at Kempton

28 Mar 2018 BHA Features Integrity Racecourse
  • Oregon Gift promoted to first and Bird For Life demoted to second in 8:45pm at Kempton Park on 23 March following further review of photo finish image
  • Steps to be taken to ensure Judges are supported and all photo finish calls receive additional oversight by BHA Officials ahead of ‘weighed in’ call
  • In longer term, the BHA has already committed to improve accountability for decisions made on the racecourses as part of BHA’s review of stewarding

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced that the result of the Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Handicap (Div I), run at Kempton Park at 8:45pm on Friday 23 March, has been corrected following further consideration of the photo finish by the officiating Judge.

The outcome of this is that Oregon Gift, who was originally called in second place, has been promoted to first place, and Bird For Life, originally called the winner, has been adjusted to second place. As per the Tattersalls rules of betting, the result that was called on the day stands for betting purposes.

The BHA has pledged to take action to minimise the risk of a recurrence. The action, which is presently still being formulated, will provide further support for Judges by ensuring that all photo finish decisions are available for review by a BHA official before the ‘weighed in’ is announced, ensuring that there is a second check before betting is settled. This will be implemented upon confirmation that the required technical aspects are in place to facilitate the process of a cross check.

In the longer term, the BHA is already committed to including – as part of the ongoing stewarding review – a commitment to ensure there is an identified leader or panel who can oversee all regulatory functions, and ensure decisions which are particularly at risk of human error are overseen, which will include the outcome of photo finish decisions.

Brant Dunshea, Director of Integrity and Raceday Operations for the BHA, said:

“Clearly the whole team is disappointed to have to correct any race result after the day. It is important that these results are called accurately.

“While it is appropriate that our processes allow us to put this right financially by the owner of the winning horse, we are aware that the betting public are significantly affected by issues such as this owing to the fact that the rules of betting mean that the result called on the day stands for betting purposes. We apologise to everyone affected.

“Tight photo finish calls can often be misleading at first glance and present a challenge on racedays when there is a time pressure. Our Judges do a fantastic job, using all of their experience to call the results of these difficult photos accurately and in a timely manner, an overwhelming majority of the time.

“However, in order to ensure that our Judges are getting all of the support they need, I am determined that we take positive steps, both in the short term and through the stewarding review, to ensure that there are extra checks and balances as part of this process before the ‘weighed in’ announcement is made and bets are settled.”

The consultation phase of the stewarding review has now concluded, and a project team has been developed whose role it is to develop a number of different options for stewarding models, based on the consultation responses and in line with a set of agreed principles. The project team includes representatives of the BHA Board, the BHA and the existing team of honorary stewards.

Once the proposed models have been developed, they will be put before the BHA Board when a model will be chosen and the process will commence of discussing how best to implement the transition.

 Notes to editors:

  1. The photo finish image can be found below. A hi-res version of the image can be found on the BHA’s website.