Do you know what makes me Really bloody angry?
Racecourse stewards, that's what. Why? Because they are so bloody inconsistent, that's why. A horse can be deemed by the stewards to have caused interference and be disqualified, and the following week at a different racecourse a horse can do exactly the same thing and be allowed to keep the race.
There are a couple of possible reasons for this, one of which is incompetence, the other is bias towards rich owners. A recent case in point being the Ascot Gold Cup a couple of years ago which was won by Kayf Tara. Around a furlong out he swerved violently to the right and badly hampered the horse who was second at the time and could possibly have won. Admittedly it wasn't the jockey's fault as he did it suddenly and without warning, but the rules state that if a horse has improved his finishing position by interference, then he should be demoted and placed behind the horse which he has interfered with. Of course he kept the race, because he was owned by Sheikh Mohammed's mega rich Godolphin operation. Would the outcome of the steward's enquiry have been different if Sheikh Mohammed had owned the horse that had been interfered with, what do you bloody well think?
Bear in mind that the above incident occurred during the final furlong, which is obviously the most important part of the race. Then consider an incident at York's 2000 Ebor meeting during the Melrose stakes. The horse in question was Jardine's Lookout, he was boxed in on the rail about four furlongs out, so the jockey moved him out and interfered with a couple of other horses in the process. He was clearly the best horse in the race and went on to win completely on merit. Yet after a steward's enquiry which lasted about half an hour, they decided to disqualify Jardine's Lookout and place him last. The point I'm making is that the incident happened four furlongs out, yes HALF A BLOODY MILE !, the horses that were interfered with had more than enough time to get back into the race if they were in any way good enough, but they weren't and they finished out with the bloody washing. Admittedly interference did take place and the jockey deserved to pick up a ban for careless riding, but why disqualify the horse as he won totally on merit? You can hardly say he improved his placing as he would have obviously beaten the horses who he interfered with in any case. Would Jardine's Lookout still have been disqualified if he was owned by Sheikh Mohammed, of course he bloody well wouldn't.
I have to admit that I was at York that day and backed Jardine's Lookout (see accompanying photo for proof), and was bloody livid when they announced that he'd been disqualified, but even allowing for sour grapes on my part, when you compare the two incidents which I've highlighted, the inconsistency is bloody staggering. It is a well known fact that the York stewards are a bit eccentric to say the least, and have been involved in quite a few controversial decisions over the years (including the f*****g ridiculous dress code at the course probably), but the Jardine's Lookout one must be one of the dodgiest.
The stewards at Doncaster have their moments too, though you can't accuse them of bias towards rich owners. On St Leger day a few years ago they disqualified a horse for interference that was owned by Pertemps (the company that was sponsoring the meeting), so no favouritism there.
A more recent incident
happened at Doncaster a few weeks ago at a Sunday meeting where two horses
were involved in a close, driving finish. Despite the fact that the
jockey on the eventual winner Nashaab had his whip in his right hand, the
horse hung badly to the right and carried the eventual second Unshaken
with him. There was very little actual contact, but the interference
was deemed to have been by "intimidation". I've never heard that
one before. The placings were subsequently reversed to the disbelief
of all concerned, but that wasn't the worst of it, as they took so long
to announce the steward's enquiry, some bookies had already paid out unaware
that there was a problem. Admittedly they shouldn't pay out until
"weighed in" is announced, but if there was to be a bloody stewards enquiry
then why didn't they announce it straight away to eliminate any doubt?
That still isn't the worst of it, a couple of weeks later after an appeal,
the original winner was reinstated. So the bookies twice paid out
on a horse that didn't actually win.
It's about time that some of these bloody upper class geriatric boneheads that pass as stewards were replaced by people who actually know what they're doing.