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What is a Stewards Enquiry in Horse Racing?

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Stewards Enquiry

Whether you’re a horse racing fanatic or just a casual watcher of the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National, you ought to know what a stewards enquiry is.  Well fear no more, here is everything you need to know about what a stewards enquiry is, what it is there fore and some examples of when it is necessary.

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What are the Stewards there for?

A Stewards Enquiry is an enquiry held at the racecourse on a race day after any given race.

The Panel is advised by the Stipendiary Steward, who presents the case in question to the Panel and then seemingly questioning the jockey and/or trainer in connection to a potential breach of the official Racing Rules.

As well as asking questions, the Panel have available to them a minimum of four camera angles of the race so they are able to watch it back, then ensuring they come to the correct conclusion with the enquiry in question.

If there is an issue to resolve, the stewards will call an ‘enquiry’ to determine if there was foul play (even if it’s accidental).

A ‘stipendiary’ steward leads the enquiry and aims to quickly figure out if any rules have been breached by reviewing the race and interviewing they jockeys involved.

If any rules have been broken, they can demote or promote horses to determine a new final standings, while sometimes horses may be disqualified.

What are the Stewards looking for in enquiries?

During a stewards enquiry, the stewards are looking for a potential breach of the official Rules of Racing.

This could be due to many different factors. It could be because a jockey overused their whip, and could be punished for that.

Another example may be if a horse supposedly impedes another horse and thus interferes with the outcome of a race result. This could be because a horse gets too close to another horse over a jump and therefore maybe hampers the other horse or impedes it.

Examples of Stewards Enquiries

The most recent example of a Stewards Enquiry came earlier today at Aintree in the second race of the afternoon.

On this occasion, the two horses in question were Pied Piper with Davy Russell on the saddle, and Knight Salute with Paddy Brennan the jockey.

The race was originally settled as a dead heat, before a stewards enquiry went ahead an the result was overruled and changed on the basis of the stewards review.

In this instance, Pied Piper was demoted to second place after jumping left at the last fence and supposedly interfering with the other horse in question, Knight Salute.

Thus, after the stewards enquiry was completed, Knight Salute was given the victory for Paddy Brennan, meanwhile Davy Russell has to settle for second with Pied Piper after breaching the Rules of Racing.

dead heat
Example of a Dead Heat

Who are the Stewards?

Racing stewards are a mix of paid and volunteer officials who effectively act as referees at a race meeting. They oversee all Flat and National Hunt races in the UK and Ireland to ensure fair play and act as arbiters if there is an issue or a breach in the Rules of Racing. A steward can open an investigation for issues such as:

  • Improper riding – such as overuse of the whip
  • Careless riding – such as riding dangerously or interfering with other horses

Racing stewards are officials appointed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) to oversee the fair running of races across the country. There are usually three stewards and a stipendiary steward at a meeting, and they are appointed by the racecourse (upon the approval of the BHA).

If a stewards enquiry is called, the stipendiary steward, local stewards, other officials, the trainers, jockeys, other connections and stable staff may be required to come together to discuss and review the incident in question.

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