Betula Backers Get Short End Of The Stick

How do we change this rule?

Backers of the Stuart Pettigrew filly Betula did their money in cold-blood in the fifth at Turffontein on Saturday when the daughter of Danon Platina reared just before the gates were sprung, dislodging jockey Diego de Gouveia.

It was the filly’s behaviour that was deemed to have caused the issue and she was thus declared a runner.

That’s the rule – but is it fair? Once again, we ask how you can lose, when you couldn’t win in the first place?

NHA rule is one of the most contentiously debated items in the regulator’s substantial book of rules, and on Saturday we had to watch as the flag man gave the go ahead, but then failed to drop it as the jockey tumbled off the back of the rearing filly.

It’s easy observing matters post-race in slow motion and passing judgement, but frankly a blind man from a helicopter can see that her supporters did not get a stride of a run for their hard-earned rands.

The Starter reported that she was restless and unruly in the stalls and that her certificate has been withdrawn.

The Stipes reviewed the start of this race and established that Betula in stall gate 1, was restless in the stalls, reared and dislodged De Gouveia shortly before the gates were released.

The Stipes were of the opinion that this incident was due to the filly’s own behaviour and therefore, acting in terms of Rule, declared her to be a runner.

To rub salt into the wound, Pick 6 and Jackpot punters who had included Betula saw their prospects up in smoke, with Sea Anemone (16-1) getting the better of the 16-10 favourite, Vix Princess.

Betula was suspended in terms of Rule 61.6.10 for a period of 7 days from 17 March to 23 March and until such time as she proves tractable loading and jumping with a companion.


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