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Methven TC 11 October 2020 - R 11 (request for a ruling) - Chair, Mr D Anderson

Created on 13 October 2020

DAnderson (chair)
Stipendiary Steward(s):
Mr P Williams - Stipendiary Steward, Mr S Renault - Stipendiary Steward
Mr G Smith - Open Driver, Mr P Lamb - Starter
Information Number:

Following the running of Race 11, an Information requesting a ruling was filed by Licensed Open Driver Mr G Smith, the driver of TAKE AFTER ME in the race, to determine whether TAKE AFTER ME was denied a fair start.

Rule 213 provides as follows:

(1) A Stipendiary Steward at any time may scratch from a race or declare ineligible to start in a race until a specific condition is met any horse on all or any of the following grounds: -

(J) If a horse was denied a fair start and such occurrence materially prejudiced the chances of that horse.

Submission For Decision:

Mr Williams used the two available race films to show the two issues Mr Smith had with the start which were the starting tape and the possible role of Mr Orange (MIKEMARO) had on the dynamic of the start.

Mr Smith using the video showed MIKEMARO jump across the front of his horse prior to the start and had to be straightened and at this stage stated he was back from the tape a half a length. He then showed just before the tape was released MIKEMARO step in front of his horse again which he said impeded him and denied him a fair start.

Mr Smith said he believed the tape when released hit MIKEMARO slowing its exit across the track. He said he saw it trail along the ground in front of him and his horse has gone to step over it which has caused TAKE AFTER ME to gallop. He said not being able to take his rightful position at the start and the issue with the starting tape had denied his horse a fair start.

The Committee asked for Mr Lamb to be called and give his opinion of the incident.

Mr Lamb, observing the video of the start, said he could see no malfunction of the starting tape and pointed to it ejecting well clear of the field. When asked by the Committee if he could see any evidence of TAKE AFTER ME stepping over the tape, he suggested that it couldn’t possibly have done so as the tape was many metres away as field began.

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee carefully considered all the evidence and viewed the available films.

There were two issues of Mr Smith’s request to consider. Firstly, was the matter of the starting tape allegedly hitting MIKEMARO and thus slowing its exit from the track and forcing TAKE AFTER ME to step over it resulting in that horse to gallop. The Committee having seen the slow-motion film a dozen times could see no evidence to support Mr Smith's assertion of this point. In fact, the film had the advantage of the white starting tape exiting across a backdrop of a black van which was positioned on the inside of the track. This view of the incident was compelling and showed without any doubt the barrier ejecting well clear of the field.

The second matter with which Mr Smith had issue was MIKEMARO denying him a chance to take his rightful position at the start. The Committee acknowledge MIKEMARO has stepped into TAKE AFTER ME’s line just prior to the start. The head on video showed as the tape was released MIKEMARO immediately jumped outwards giving Mr Smith a large unimpeded gap for his horse to begin in.

The Committee’s assessment of Mr Smith’s request was somewhat frivolous and without satisfactory evidence. Given the imperfect scenarios of standing start races there may be several instances of the same ilk, argued by Mr Smith, in most races.


The Committee ruled that TAKE AFTER ME was not denied a fair start.

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