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Rule that just isn't justice; Opinion.

YOU could carry on arguing until the end of the next millennium, and you still wouldn't come to any concrete conclusion that Pepperdine would, or would not, have beaten Get Stuck In had he not been carried halfway across the course in Saturday's Coral Sprint Trophy at York.

It is simply a matter of opinion.

For what it's worth, I thought Pepperdine would have won. He was just coming with his run when the other horse began to go across him, and though Kieren Fallon kept pumping away, he was simply not able to ride the horse out as only he can. In fact he gave him only a couple of cracks and, in the last 50 yards, put his stick down completely.

It's the stewards' opinions that count, and under Rule 153 (i)(c), in order to change the result, they had to be satisfied that the interference improved the placing of Get Stuck In.

Whatever the Oxford Dictionary's definition of satisfied, according to senior stewards' secretary Patrick Hibbert-Foy, the Jockey Club interpret it as meaning 'certain' or 'sure'.

Thus on Saturday, in order to change the result, the stewards had to be certain that without the interference Pepperdine would have beaten the winner. Moreover, if there is a doubt, then the horse that wins is given the benefit of that doubt.

This has been the interpretation for several years now, but it makes no sense. On Saturday, who broke the rules? The answer is Carl Lowther on Get Stuck In, because the stewards gave him a three-day ban for careless riding.

So who was given the benefit of the doubt? Answer, the same horse and rider. In other words, Rule 153 dictates that the guilty party must always be given the benefit of the doubt over the innocent one. Surely that's not justice.

It makes more sense to turn the question round, so on Saturday the stewards would have asked themselves: 'Are you satisfied that the actions of Get Stuck In cost Pepperdine his chance of winning?'

The answer might well have been rather different.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Russell, Colin
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 11, 1999
Words:347
Previous Article:Bevan states case for the defence.
Next Article:Pepperdine verdict has Nicholls fuming.


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