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Starts – Who Is Offside?

Trainer says 'it's wrong'

What is wrong – if anything – with our race starting processes in this country?

Robbie Sage – race of mixed emotions

The Turffontein first race saw two horses being withdrawn at the start.

The eventual winner, William The Silent, a son of Var, showed good ability to get the better of recent runaway debut winner, Van Halen.

Winning trainer Robbie Sage came across in the post-race interview as a man with mixed feelings.

“That was a pleasing win but such a pity about his stablemate Dewali, who was withdrawn. He is probably even better than the winner, but ended up standing in the stalls for five minutes. That’s wrong. It’s offside.”

Who is offside?

The impact of bad starting protocol plays out on turnover, punters, owners, trainers and anybody involved with a particular horse – and also creates an environment for injury for horse and rider.

Should the National Horseracing Authority not be doing something about it?

Have Your Say

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10 comments on “Starts – Who Is Offside?

  1. Adrian says:

    The number of incidents we have at the start is unacceptable. We can clearly see the difference by observing UK,US and Asian Racing where the number of incidents are very few compared to our weekly and sometimes daily occurrences.

    It’s unfair to the owners since they look forward to their horses participating.

  2. Tex says:

    its all about the bottom line – pressure from the top management

    I think if you do the maths all round there are no winners only losers

    injured jockeys, horses, suspended horses, owners pockets, trainers time and efforts and the

    refunding of bets taken !

  3. David McGillivray says:

    The main trouble in SA is that the badly behaved horses get an advantage as they get to load late or last which everybody wants! Under current system there is no advantage to schooling your horse well as it will then be disadvantaged by being loaded early and have to wait for the badly behaved horses.
    The system needs to change and well schooled horses should NOT be disadvantaged.

    1. Gregory says:

      That was a discussion 30 years ago!

  4. Chris Swart says:

    Not to mention Vardo. Very well fancied. Got above himself behind the pens, then taken out, inspected, then back out, then scratched.
    It’s just acceptable

  5. Ian Jayes says:

    Take a good consistent look at French racing. Their handlers do not have to manhandle and bully the horses into the starting stalls.

    It is all about proper schooling. Well schooled horses will load on demand. We should start loading in the order of odd numbers and then even numbers and those that won’t load should be left behind.

    It will only be necessary to do that a few times before owners get the message and entrust their horses to trainers who treat schooling as an important part of the training program.

    By the same token, “conditioners” prepare animals for show or slaughter and “trainers” prepare them for competition.

    The sooner those presenters who think they are being smart by referring to trainers as conditioners understand this the better. .

    1. Pops says:

      Mr.Jayes French handlers take ages to load the horses.There is never any urgency when comes to the loading thus most times French races are 5, 10 and sometimes 15 minutes late

      1. Rian says:

        Well said Pops , its really the exception if they load on time
        In the States they have it down to a fine art and they load from inside to outside , low no to high and it works like a bomb
        Its a pleasure watching the States racing and the stewards thorough knowledge of Horse racing
        Only wish could get a bet on as Tab pools are pathetic and Hollywood never show the odds or have any exotic bets except Exacta

      2. Ian Jayes says:

        I will take your point about the time, as I have never noticed it myself, but they do work very nicely with the horses and their horses all look well-schooled. There is a helluva lot of room for improvement here.

  6. Mashie says:

    Common sense is lacking at the start

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