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Forbury Park TC 24 June 2021 - R 5 (instigating a protest0 - Chair, Prof G Hall

Created on 28 June 2021

GHall (chair)
Mr C Ferguson - Driver of BETTORS ATOM
Mr S Renault - Stipendiary Steward
Information Number:
Horse Name:
Persons present:

An Information was lodged by Mr Renault under r 869(7B) alleging that BETTORS ATOM shifted inside track markers leaving the final bend and gained an advantage. He sought disqualification of BETTORS ATOM from 5th place.

The official placings are:
(2) - AH MACH - 1st
(5)  - WHO’S SMOKIN - 2nd
(4) - KERALA STAR - 3rd
(9) - MARK O’RONGA - 4th
(3)  - BETTORS ATOM -  5th

Rule 869(7B) states: “Where any horse or its sulky wheel moves inside the track marker line and gains an advantage the horse shall be disqualified from that race except where it is established that the breach was caused by interference by another horse or driver.”

Mr Ferguson represented the connections of BETTORS ATOM.

Submissions For Decision:

With the aid of the side-on and back straight videos Mr Renault demonstrated that MACH O’MELLEY (Mr Morrison) was not racing hard against the markers. BETTORS ATOM was trailing MACH O’MELLEY leaving the home bend and it took a run to the inside of that horse and went inside 3 track markers. Mr Renault said BETTORS ATOM had been held up by a tiring horse and had shifted down and obtained a run it was not entitled to. He demonstrated on the videos that when Mr Morrison realised BETTORS ATOM was to his inside, he pulled his horse’s head outwards and MACH O’MELLEY shifted out.

Mr Renault stated the Stewards did not believe there was a full run for BETTORS ATOM to the inside of MACH O’MELLEY and that BETTORS ATOM had obtained a run that it was not entitled to. He pointed out that there was no run for BETTORS ATOM to the outside of MACH O’MELLEY. He said MACH O’MELLEY was half off, but the Stewards believed the horse had held its true line rounding the bend.

Mr Ferguson said there was a run for BETTORS ATOM. He had waited until the gap between MACH O’MELLEY and the markers was wide enough for him to be able to take it. He believed there was room for his horse and the cart. The reason he had raced over the markers was because MACH O’MELLEY had drifted in slightly on exiting the bend. He demonstrated that the gap between MACH O’MELLEY and the horse to its outside (IDEAL ASSET) had expanded at this point which confirmed his belief that MACH O’MELLEY had come in. He said there had been no yelling.

Reasons For Decision:

In terms of the Rule, it is clear that BETTORS ATOM has raced over 3 markers and gained an advantage. The issue is whether or not this was because BETTORS ATOM suffered interference.

The video angles are far from conclusive despite attempts to synchronise the angles and frames. MACH O’MELLEY was racing half a cart off the markers as it came round the bend. A gap opened up for Mr Ferguson and he proceeded to take it. He states Mr Morrison drifted in slightly after he did so. The side-on video shows that Mr Morrison upon rounding the bend looked to his inside and pulled the head of MACH O’MELLEY outwards. The horse shifted slightly wider on the track at this time. Mr Ferguson has stated that he purposefully waited until there was a gap for him to improve into and that he was pushed down the track and over the markers by the inwards movement of MACH O’MELLEY. He is correct when he states the gap between Mr Morrison and the horse to his outside widens slightly at this time. It gives some credence to his contention that MACH O’MELLEY drifted in slightly. In these circumstances it cannot be said that BETTORS ATOM did not receive interference from MACH O’MELLEY.


The Committee is not satisfied on the evidence before it that there has been a breach of r 869(7B). The protest is dismissed. The Judge’s placings stand. Stakes and dividends are to be paid accordingly.

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