The result of the 2010 StanJames.com 1000 Guineas was decided in the stewards room. The enquiry, which lasted ten minutes, correctly disqualified the winner Jacqueline Quest in favour of runner-up Special Duty.
The stewards, quite rightly, came to the conclusion that if Jacqueline Quest had not taken Special Duty towards the centre of the track Criquette Head-Maarek’s filly would have passed the post in front of Tom Queally’s mount.
Last Sunday the French stewards held an enquiry after the outcome of the Poule D’Essai Des Pouliches ( French 1000 Guineas ) and, according to their rules, quite rightly disqualified first past the post Liliside, once again in favour of Special Duty.
What is difficult to comprehend however, is how it took seventy five minutes for the officials to reach their verdict.
After watching the head-on of the race it was patently obvious that Liliside had caused interference, and broken the rules.
Having badly hampered Andre Fabre’s Full Steam, it seemed a forgone conclusion that Jean-Bernard Eyquem’s mount would be placed behind that animal, in last place.
Quite what the stewards were thinking of in placing Liliside sixth, is almost unfathomable.
The BHA are currently trying to attract new blood into the sport and the one thing that will always put people off is when they see something that lacks common sense and justice.
Fortunately, British stewards appear to adopt the fairest set of rules in existance at the moment, in which the guilty are punished, but the outcome is decided in a fair and just manner.
In 1988 British racing hung it’s head in shame after Royal Gait was disqualified from first place after a comprehensive victory in the Ascot Gold Cup.
The French trained colt came home five lengths clear, after slightly hampering the weakening El Conquistador.
El Conquistador was trained by Guy Harwood, who’s Sadeem was subsequently awarded the race in the stewards room.
Any newcomer to racing who had backed Royal Gait that day would have felt robbed, and no one could have blamed them for thereafter giving the sport the cold shoulder.
Thank goodness British stewarding has now changed for the better, with the outcome of races decided by justice and transparency.
In the opinion of many people ( myself included ) it’s now surely time the rest of Europe followed suit.