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July -Why No Race Review?

'Winner cost Eyes Wide Open a length' - Glen Kotzen

Drama is woven into the very fabric of the Vodacom Durban July.

After Hawwaam’s crushing exit dashed so many starry eyed dreams at the start of Saturday’s spectacular 123rd renewal, defending champion Do It Again powered home to write his name into the history books – but not before denting the chances of the classy Eyes Wide Open.

The conspiracy theorists enjoyed a few field days after the Hawwaam withdrawal, with inevitable fingers pointed – but seldom motives tendered – at everybody from the on-course vet, to the trainer,  to the jockey,  to the horse whisper and to the handlers.

And even the racing operator had their accusers. The last mentioned is an interesting party.

Despite the fact that the national anthem is part of the tradition and the hosts had their hands full with more than 50 000 reasons for drifting off the timetable, it is said that Hawwaam’s departure initiated R10 million in refunded bets. Work that out on Gold Circle’s pressured bottom line.

Mike de Kock – sporting response

But after trainer Mike de Kock’s sporting endorsement of the vet’s decision shortly after the race, the Hawwaam cloud has largely blown over.

Now it’s the Eyes Wide Open incident. The 4yo took a swipe from eventual winner Do It Again close to home. That has had the questions filtering in from our readers.

Watch the incident here

Why was there no race review? That appears to be the leading question.

National Horseracing AuthorityWe put it to the NHA’s Racing Control Executive Arnold Hyde that, given the fact that the incident was in-the-face visually, would the precaution of a ‘race review’ notification from the Stipes not have been the most correct course to have followed?

Not only does it boost public confidence that racing’s policemen are on top of things, but it costs nothing – and that view is exacerbated by the enormity of the occasion, the record betting pools – and the fact that we had a whole new world of uninformed observers.

And the subsequent questions from our readers have underlined this thought.

“A Race Review is called when a Stipendiary Steward, or any of the connections, consider that an incident may have had a material effect on the result of the race when considering the provisions of lodging an objection. As there was a 1,95 length margin between Do It Again and Eyes Wide Open at the finish, there was never any concern that the result of the race, when considering both horses eventual placings, was materially affected by the incident. I am not sure what you mean by ‘precaution’, but there was never any prospect of further action by the Stipendiary Stewards, from an objection perspective into the incident,” said Arnold Hyde.

2009 Gr1 Vodacom Durban July, Big City LIfe

Glen Kotzen’s 2009 Gr1 Vodacom Durban July

Paarl-based trainer Glen Kotzen, who won the July in 2009 with Big City Life, has done an outstanding job of getting dual Gr1 winner Eyes Wide Open back to his best this term. He conceded that he was very surprised that there was not a race review called by the Stipes.

He said that owner Hugo Hattingh had made the sporting decision not to object. But he felt that one paragraph of 30 odd words in the official report had hardly done the incident justice.

The Stipes reported:

At approximately the 250 metre mark Eyes Wide Open (W Kennedy) had to ease momentarily to avoid the heels of Do It Again (R Fourie) which shifted in away from the crop and was immediately straightened.

Glen, who has been training for close on 30 years, said that every race incident impacted differently on the individual horse.

“In terms of the American rules, it would have been worth our while to object as Do It Again could have been considered for disqualification. But the South African rules dictate that we would have to show that, but for the interference, Eyes Wide Open would have finished ahead of Do It Again. I am not suggesting my horse could have beaten Do It Again. But I’d estimate the incident cost him a length. And we finished a head behind the third horse – a difference to Swinger, Trifecta and Place Accumulator punters – and R200 000 more in stakes for my owner – one of the most staunchest and loyal men in the game.”

Glen Kotzen seen with Kuyan Kotzen,Suzanne Hattingh,his wife Kathi and Hugo Hattingh (Pic – Gold Circle)

He pointed out that Eyes Wide Open is like one of those wind-up toys.

“One has to wind and wind and wind – he takes time to get into his stride. But when he gets going,  he flies. Do It Again’s interference broke his stride and momentum at a crucial stage. Have a look at how he kicks late again when Warren (Kennedy) works on him and gets him going again.”

Richard Fourie has won two Gr1’s on Eyes Wide Open and knows the horse well. The inevitable question of race riding came up.

“Look, things happen in all level of races. I’m not suggesting there was any intent. Richard is one of the best. He had the whip in his left hand and the move had the effect of forcing my horse behind his stablemate Doublemint. Horses do shift about. He apparently apologised to Warren (Kennedy) afterwards. I would have thought there would at least been an inquiry. I mean at the Vaal in midweek, lesser incidents occur – and the jockey gets a holiday. This was our biggest race on our biggest day. I have left two messages with the Stipes. Nobody has called me back,” said Glen.

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30 comments on “July -Why No Race Review?

  1. Bob Kistnasamy says:

    Very valid points from Glen about the finishing power of Eyes Wide Open and Fourie’s knowledge of the horse. However, as I had indicated in my earlier post, I was surprised by Glen’s silence. Whilst the owner may have decided not to consider an objection, we have to take cognisance of the fact that the horse did lose momentum and had to re-gather his stride. In my view, the incident was worth more than a length .
    Perhaps, it would have made an interesting race.

    Well, as members of the betting community, I suppose we do not really have a voice.

  2. Gavin Langeveldt says:

    Can a trainer or jockey no longer lodge an objection?

    1. Editor says:

      Gavin, of course they could – they respected their owner’s wishes and as Glen rightly indicates, it would have probably not have succeeded in any event, in view of the rule.

      The issue we are trying to convey is that it is odd that the stipes didn’t call a race review – Mr Hyde says there was no prospect etc – but isnt the very purpose of a race review to take time in consulation to determine that?

      The Stipes have plenty to watch – including counting jockey crop strikes of 16 riders @ a max 12 per horse over 2200m.

      Maybe the rule needs reviewing – the move put Eyes Wide Open out of contention for a stride or two – it may even have cost him third.

      Nobody suggesting Richard did anything wrong – but shouldn’t an inquiry have been opened into the incident as a matter of routine?

      It’s a Gr1 – it’s worth asking the questions and debating it.

  3. jc lee ching says:

    I really feel for the connections of Eyes Wide Open, had the tables been turned Richard Fourie would have lodged a hysterical objection as he did with with Legislate.

  4. hilton witz says:

    A really dumb article as the rule is clear and mr hyde has explained it perfectly and the stipes would have looked like they didnt know their own rules if they called for a race review.

    1. Editor says:

      Some are not as informed and asked for clarity – we tried to get some answers

  5. bwanachris says:

    I do find it odd (more so than this) that Hawwaam was loaded last, probably was the least unruly horse in the process but had his certificate suspended.
    It’s often a chain reaction with noise levels and skittishness raised (White River last year another example of this – and a very poor act of maintenance).
    This year the first two horses loaded were exceptionally hard to load and I’m no fan of a starter waving a whip around a small field of horses, let alone a maximum.
    They’re intelligent flight animals and this action isn’t helping.
    They fine jockeys for excessive use of the whip and rightfully so in a progressive way that is public friendly.
    On television broadcast to the layman and once a year punter, the whip is being waved around horses rearing and unruly.
    Neither were suspended which smacks of inconsistency.
    Whatever happened to upset Hawwaam was the end of a reaction rather than the cause and knock on effect.

    Glen is correct and this matter being waved off by what is the highest ranked assembly of stipes is cause for concern.

    At the end of the day, all the public wants is consistency for all.

    Kudos to Mike for being the professional and bigger man to express his thoughts in what can only have been heartbreak.
    I was told by Hawwaam’s groom and handler at the yearling sales that he knew he’d win the July even when his participation was in debate.
    He was so proud of him. How devastated was he after this ?

    Kudos to Justin too for being sportsman like and humble in his regret that Hawwaam could not prove his case.

    More needs to be done. The start needs massive attention. It’s constantly the subject of punters ire and brings about the bitterness and dissent.

    Fortunately I covered and got my stake back which was a win win.
    There is little sympathy for the antepost speculator at all.
    Rather than “that’s racing” let’s have “that’s a lesson learned” and “how do we improve the start not only on big days but from a poor maiden to group one”

    Lastly, well done Gold Circle. Thinking outside the box, innovation and social media engagement is critical to progress.
    If you’re critical of the NHRA on twitter, you get blocked

  6. Sanjay says:

    I think it would have been a different result if E W. O had not been interfered with, as a punter, I lost the tri and the quartet because I had Do it again for 3rd and 4th respectively. I think it is unfair on us punters that no race review was called. 😢😂😢

  7. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Why is a grade 1 different to any other horse race ? This highlights what punters go through every week in racing. Decisions by the authorities are subjective not objective, you cant just waive an incident away, even more so in a Grade 1, it shows the inconsistency that pervades. Its a closed shop. Someone mentioned an Ombudsman. It also highlights the need to “uniform” racing around the world. Football has the same rules wherever you play as do all other sports. There should be an international team of stipes and industry stakeholders to promote this and monitor. Football has FIFA and so on and look at the game now that its “cleaner” same with many others codes. Thats the way to go but how many ivory towers must come down to achieve that ?

  8. Lou Syfer says:

    Should we not be asking ourselves if the American and French objection rules are better than this nonsense we have now?

  9. VG says:

    So the counting of the crop more important than peoples money that run the game.if an under rated trainer won the July and that hapen the stipes will sound the hooter strait away.shame on the stipes.

  10. Art says:

    Why is it a stupid article as one ‘clever’racing enthusiast writes.A lot of experienced people saw the interference including a trainer with years of experience and a July winner to boot.Thanks for raising the question ed and whether the stipes were correct or not is always going to be a bone of contention. I am in the Wylie hall camp when he lost to legislate but one has to suck it up and carry on.There have been some some horrendous stipes decisions in recent times most notably the one to declare Sanctuary a runner at Clairwood which resulted in a track invasion.I would caution the stipes to tread carefully when playing with punters money.Rules are rules but they must be applied consistently.

  11. jc lee ching says:

    Irrespective of all conflicting views, Eyes Wide Open and his connections were badly treated as a result of the obvious interferrance caused by Fourie and no action was taken. We are now being lectured by some erudite pundits as to the rules of the game. In the words of the great Mr Bumble ” IF THE LAW SAYS THAT SIR THEN THE LAW IS A ASS”

  12. Ian Jayes says:

    The fact remains that the horses were running at about 17 metres per second and if a horse suffers interference that costs it a fraction of a second, then the loss amounts to about 5 metres. Another fact is that Dees Diamand spent almost the whole afternoon on TV telling punters how much was backed on Hawwaam and after Eden Roc won, he said there were so many doubles taken on Hawwaam that the bookmakers would be bankrupted if Hawwaam won. What was the public to think?

    1. karel says:

      Don’t you just love conspiracy?

  13. Wayne Fouche says:

    Just a little diversion……….I am somewhat surprised that nobody seems to have commented on the poor ride Lerena gave Rainbow Bridge? Ah yes! I am talking from my pocket.

  14. Head Scratcher says:

    I’ve got some serious scrapes on my head after reading these and other comments. If one enters a contest aware of the rules then why after the event are the rules not fair? I have an objection of my own. Why are so many so ignorant so much of the time? Too lazy to read the rules and the small print or perhaps to easy to dream up conspiracies?

  15. hilton witz says:

    Let me try explain this in baby language …The stipes are like policeman they are employed to apply the RULES NOT GUIDELINES even though they DID NOT WRITE THE RULES…If the objection rules are fair unfair should be changed etc is a completely different debate but the stipes applied the current rules to their decision and they were 200 percent correct…I wish from my pocket these were the rules when space walk got gifted the july when surfing home impeded pas de qui….

  16. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…I’m assuming betting World got burnt on their match play bets with Do it Again beating Rainbow Bridge it’s absolute disgrace that there was no Head to Head betting for the Vaal yesterday it’s just one way street for betting world punters are not allowed to win Period we are so badly handicapped before we as punters have a bet…the percentages when pricing up on any horesrace or sports game it’s only in there favour big time there are so many obstacles one must overcome before banking the money as a punter it’s become a absolute joke to win rather rape me without vasilene i’ll feel so much better not only betting world but whole of the bookmaking industry in SA no wonder there are so many punters jumping ship and hoping onto the illegal online sites far better value…how many times must one complain before you guys wake up…the country is running out of fuel quickly

  17. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Fast Forward to Jun2020

    SP headline –

    ” Do it Again aims to win 3rd July in a row ”

    “Cameron, William and even Frankie agrees. a Few punters are still upset about the 2019 running… ”

    LoL 😂

  18. Anthony Banks says:

    margin was too big for protest .the two top weights the best in south africa .in australia we wouldnt expect to see such highly weighted horses proving much too good for the lighter weighted horses.do it again has a brilliant finish.

  19. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Imagine laying bets like there is no settling, only to find out you have to settle…. burnt is not the word, but I can’t seem to find the word… but having to take a number and queue does not leave one with much confidence…

    The perfect storm and it’s not a storm in a teacup either… the bit of talent has left the building

  20. Sanjay Kandhai says:

    I spoke to a guy 2 days prior to the July and he said to me Hawamm will b scratched and do it again will win. I laughed at the notion to my detriment. Wonder how he knew this. Racing is a farce. Punters lose almost 90 percent of the tym.

    1. karel says:

      Better stay friends with that guy!

  21. Rod Mattheyse says:

    I’m very surprised the NHA has the budget to manage a twitter profile effectively.

  22. bwanachris says:

    It’s effective. You block critics and post propoganda that deflects issues for free

  23. Hylton says:

    Irrespective of the RULES the stipes report does not reflect exactly what happened between Do It Again and Eyes Wide Opened.

    First they failed to report that Do It Again crossed the path of Eyes Wide Open and momentarily took up his running when doing so.
    Eyes Wide Open had to check and come around Do It Again after Do It Again took up his running.

    So to Mr Arnold Hyde and Vee Moodley, why does the stipes report actually fail to report this and when actually does Richard Fourie straighten his mount after crossing the path of Eyes Wide Open or before.

    Please Sporting Post Editor find out and publish a response from the NHA as to why they failed to mention in their report about Do It Again crossing the path of Eyes wide open suit can be clearly seen in the head on view as per link below.

    https://youtu.be/ggVq3onRjUM

  24. Anthony Banks says:

    the race is over move on

  25. Art says:

    Racing is starting to affect the minds of some punters on this site .We now have a guy talking in baby language.

  26. Akesh Singh says:

    How is the concept of a horse finishing a race in the best possible position ,only selectively applied??.
    Seems like if a jock does not give a good ride then he will be punished but if interference is caused by another runner,then you have to get back into stride and finish within a length???
    Cold deal for punters,with all due respect to My Hattingh

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