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Waikato RC 20 January 2021 - R 5 (request for ruling) - Chair, Mr G Jones

Created on 21 January 2021

GJones (chair)
Stipendiary Steward(s):
Mr B Jones - Stipendiary Steward
Mr S McKee - Trainer of O'JESSICA, Mr A Calder - Rider of O'JESSICA, Mr J Mood
Information Number:

Following the running of Race 5, the “Sweynesse-Footing It With The Best 100”, Stipendiary Steward, Mr Jones lodged an Information requesting a Ruling in relation to Rule 632 to establish whether O’JESSICA was denied a fair start.

The basis for the request was due to O’JESSICA rearing as the gates opened whilst being held by a Barrier Attendant.

Rule 632 provides “If, in the opinion of the Judicial Committee, a horse which does not finish in the first four placing’s was prevented from taking an effective part in a race owing to the mechanical failure of starting stalls, or is denied a fair start and such occurrence materially prejudiced the chances of that horse (but not where the horse is slow away of its own accord), the Judicial Committee may declare such horse to be a non-starter.”

Submission For Decision:

Using the head-on race film Mr Jones identified O’JESSICA in barrier number 2. He said that for safety reasons O’JESSICA was being steadied by a Barrier Attendant. When the barrier opened O’JESSICA reared; and stood in the stalls and then took no further part in the race.

Mr Jones said that there was no mechanical barrier failure but Stewards sought a ruling as to whether O’JESSICA’S chances were materially prejudiced due to being supported by the Barrier Attendant. He added that O’JESSICA was not on the Starters List of horses requiring assistance at the start.

Mr Moody, the Starter said that O’JESSICA was supported at the start by a Barrier Attendant because “it was playing up”.

O’JESSICA’S Rider, Mr Calder said that the Barrier Attendant was holding on because his mount was unsettled. He said that he was conscious of the fact that the horse on his inside was known to cause problems at the start. Mr Calder said that O’JESSICA reared up at the barrier and did not attribute this to any action or inaction on the part of the Barrier Attendant.

Reasons For Decision:

The Committee carefully considered the submissions presented and reviewed the video footage. The head-on film provided the best coverage.

The Committee gave due consideration as to whether the Barrier Attendant was holding on to O’JESSICA and in doing so prevented that runner from gaining a fair start. After assessment of the films the Committee was satisfied that although O’JESSICA was being supported by the Barrier Attendant it reared without interference when the gates opened and as such it did receive a fair start. Further, the evidence of Mr Calder confirming that the Barrier Attendant was not at fault was persuasive.


Accordingly, under the provisions of the Rule, the Committee was of the opinion that although O’JESSICA reared as the barrier gates opened it was not denied a fair start and the payment of dividends is authorised pursuant to this Ruling.

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