Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas – Stipes Question Pace Jockey

Should the rules be tweaked?

The Charles Dickens team lead their champion in after a sensational showing (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

The Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas on Saturday heralded the arrival in the Gr1 stratosphere of one of the most exciting horses we have seen for many a year. The victory by Charles Dickens is a massive feather in the cap for Milnerton trainer Candice Bass-Robinson and her team.

But the role of the sensational winner’s 80 rated stablemate didn’t escape the attention of the Stipes.

Karel Miedema observed on our comments platform after the announcement of the final field earlier this week ‘that it looks like Canford Lights is there to make sure of a true run race at a good pace until they hit the straight. Legacy of Terence Millard …’

Steve Reid labelled the Miedema observation an interesting comment and noted that a perusal of the NHA rules makes no mention of the use of pacemakers in a race.

Watch the replay of the Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas here:

Reid added that if Miedema’s observation of Canford Lights being used as a pacemaker was true, then it breaks a few guidelines in his opinion – although he concedes that these guidelines are ‘murky at best’:

62.1 Every HORSE shall be run and shall be allowed to run to the best of its ability and on its merits.

Would a pacemaker be seen as fulfilling this guideline?

62.1.1. A HORSE must be ridden in such a manner as to benefit its best interests of the RACE in general.

The ‘benefit its best interests of the RACE’ portion of this guideline is open to interpretation, suggests Reid. What exactly does it mean? It appears contradictory to 62.1 but perhaps the ambiguity is intentional.

He goes on to say that things get muddier with the following guidelines:

62.2.1 The RIDER of a HORSE shall take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout a RACE to ensure that his HORSE is given a full opportunity to win or to obtain the best possible placing.

Is last place the best possible placing if your stable companion benefits?

62.2.9 The RIDER take all reasonable measures to ensure that he rides to the instructions given to him by the PERSON authorised to give such instructions.

Should the trainer give the instruction to the rider to sacrifice the horse as a pacemaker – with the clear intention of benefiting the companion – does this then trump the guidelines that show this is not allowed?

He also asked whether the solution would not be to allow for a pacemaker in the guidelines? This would then need to be declared on acceptance. It would be as simple as declaring a piece of equipment.

As it transpired, Canford Lights did make the pace on Saturday.

Jockey Gareth Wright reportedly told the Stewards that his instructions were to ride the gelding positively and to ensure that he cleared the two horses drawn to the inside of him from the start.

He added that he had managed to clear both At My Command Port Louis with ease once the gates had opened but Canford Lights had taken hold of the bit and had raced more prominently at the head of the field than he had anticipated.

When questioned by the Stipes as to why he had at one stage in the back straight and on the bend been positioned several lengths in advance of the field, he responded that the gelding had been strong and he had been unable to bring it back to the field.

The Stipes then observe that after straightening, Canford Lights commenced to give ground suddenly and had finished tailed off.

Jockey Wright also stated that Canford Light’s merit rating was far below the average of the other runners in this race.

When it was put to him that he had not made a report to the Stipendiary Steward that was assigned to take reports from the riders following the race, Mr Wright confirmed that he was aware of the Rules pertaining to ensuring that his mounts were given every opportunity to obtain the best possible placing and that he is obliged to report any circumstances that might have had an effect on his mount’s performance.

The Stewards have adjourned to give further consideration to this matter.

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