BHA DEFENDS HEREFORD STEWARDS OVER LACK OF 'AM I BLUE' INQUIRY
RACING POST TAKES ISSUE TODAY (10.09.2010)'AM I BLUE' INQUIRY BY GRAHAM GREEN
While the investigation continues into the background to last week’s successful gamble on AM I BLUE, the BHA has defended the competence of the Hereford stewards whose decision not to hold an inquiry infuriated on-course punters.
It was only when the regulatory body stepped in that a closer inspection of events was ordered after stipendiary steward, Simon Cowley, accepted owner-trainer Delyth Thomas’s explanation on the day for the filly’s improved performance.
BHA spokesman Paul Struthers said there were no grounds for taking disciplinary action against Cowley and the stewarding panel on duty as official procedure had been followed..
AM I BLUE , who had been tailed off 88 lengths behind the winning horse at Worcester 15 days earlier, and before that was beaten 75 lengths at Newton Abbot, was backed down from an early morning price of 25/1 to 5/1 before recording a 19-length victory in the 2m4f handicap hurdle under Richard Johnson , who was a late replacement for Dean Coleman.
The 5lb claimer has since admitted it was a lack of confidence, and not a puncture, that caused him to miss the ride. The gamble is estimated to have cost the betting industry a six-figure sum and represented a massive improvement by AM I BLUE, who had appeared to have lost her form having previously been placed three times for former trainer Tim Vaughan.
After being told by Thomas, who was visited by BHA investigators on Tuesday, that the filly had benefited from “some spinal therapy”, and a change of tactics, Cowley said: “It was not necessary to call a formal inquiry, because there was nothing suspicious to investigate. There was a change of jockey because Dean Coleman was unwell and that was straight forward enough.”
AM I BLUE, again partnered by Johnson, reappeared under a 7lb penalty at Newton Abbot on Monday and hacked up at odds of 5-6.
Asked what action was going to be taken against the Hereford stewards for not holding an inquiry, Struthers replied: “None.”
He said: “The procedures laid out compel them to hold an inquiry if a horse has never been placed. If a horse has been placed before, they can still hold an inquiry, but they do not consult with the handicapper on duty and aren’t compelled to hold an inquiry.
“Moreover in the absence of the stewards holding an inquiry and referring anything to us, it doesn’t preclude us from looking at previous races or indeed investigating, and that is exactly what happens, so they haven’t done anything wrong as such, and therefore no action will be taken.” END
COMMENT David Ashforth for the Racing Post
The BHA should tell the Hereford stewards that they made a serious error of judgemant in failing to call an official inquiry into the improved form shown by AM I BLUE on September 1st.
Yet the BHA proposes doing nothing, on the basis that official procedures did not compel the stewards to hold an inquiry and it was open to the BHA to initiate an investigation itself, which it promptly did. “They haven’t done anything wrong, as such,” said BHA spokesman Paul Struthers, “and therefore no action will be taken.”
But they did do something wrong. The stewards failed to use their discretion to call an inquiry that clearly needed to be called, which meant a lost opportunity to question the horses connections immediately after the race. It was also a decision guaranteed to inflame punters.
Here was a horse, transferred from trainer Tim Vaughan to Delyth Thomas, that had been beaten 75 lengths on August 2 and 88 lengths on August 17 . Yet 15 days later, backed from 25/1 to 5/1, she strolled home by 19 lengths. AM I BLUE’S handicap mark had slipped from 100 to 83, but that was an insufficient explanation. She appreciated the reversion to two and a half miles, but was that a sufficient reason? Then there was the late replacement of conditional jockey Dean Coleman by Richard Johnson to consider.
The stewards should have summoned Thomas, Johnson and Coleman and asked the questions that needed asking but Simon Cowley, the professional steward, didn’t think any questions needed to be asked beyond those he informally gave to Thomas. He told him that the explanation lay in spinal therapy conducted since AM I BLUE’S last run and a change to front- running tactics. “It was not necessary to call a formal inquiry because there was nothing suspicious to investigate,” said Cowley, naively. “There was a change of jockey because Dean Coleman felt unwell, and that was straightforward enough.”
No it wasn’t, since it wasn’t clear whether Coleman was suffering from the dentist, a punctured tyre or a lack of confidence.
An issue is not only the question of whether any rules were broken but the competence of the stewards.
A case like this undermines the betting public’s fragile faith in the system
Punters need to know that the BHA has instructed all stewards that, in a case such as this of AM I BLUE, they must hold an official inquiry. END
COMMENT J Margaret Clarke for Turfcall.
FAILED BRITISH HORSERACING AUTHORITY PERSONNEL PRACTICES (BHA)
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ working practices within Disciplinary Department
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ working practices within Regulation Department
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices burdened upon Licensed Trainers
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices burdened upon Owners and Breeders
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices used legally in all cases where handler/rider/horse issues are at stake. Rampant Bloodhorse Illiteracy the norm.
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices used within the Rules of Racing
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ miss interpreting the meaning of such rules within perspective
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices relevant to all handler/riders, all those who go to make up each and every licensed trainer teams.
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices burdened upon all handler/rider training and career structures
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices toward Punters
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ working practices on Racecourses.
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ within intelligence perspective practices
Failed ’Duty of Care’ Veterinary practices on Racecourses
Failed ’Duty of Care’ Veterinary practices whilst acting within licensed trainer establishments
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ Medical practices on Racecourses
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ political practices
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ within horsemanship practices
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices toward animals
Failed ‘Duty of Care’ practices toward people
RIP OFF BRITAIN TACTICS USED RIGHT ACROSS THE BOARD, BLIGHTING AND CONTAMINATING PEOPLES LIVES, AND THE LIVES OF ALL LIVING CREATURES INCLUDING THE HORSES.