Another day another very suspect group 1 win for Ballydoyle. I watched the Juddmonte on Channel 4 – the commentary was revealing;
” … and Duke of Marmalade has had a wonderful passage through… ”
Sure he did – a nice gap opened up in front of him at exactly the right time between Red Rock Canyon and the rail. It was no coincidence though – Red Rock’s jockey looked round several times before he moved him out to let the Duke through.
No such luck for the sponsor’s horse. As Red Rock Canyon moved back through the field he blocked poor old Phoenix Tower in his run. There were no looks back and no attempts to get out of the way – in the end Phoenix Tower had to barge his way through to get a run, but the Duke had flown and it was too late. Only just though – if Phoenix Tower had had a little more luck in running the result might have been different. I guess we’ll never know.
The rules of racing appear to cover this point. They state (on the BHA website);
153. (iv) A Rider shall not:
(a) make a manoeuvre in a race in the interests of another horse in common ownership or under common control or from the same stable or team whether or not such a manoeuvre caused interference or caused his horse to fail to achieve its best possible placing.
This and other rules seem to indicate a simple (and IMO correct) policy – every horse in every race should be run to achieve the best possible placing in total isolation and related runners should not conspire or work together in any way for any reason. In simple terms – no team tactics.
Ballydoyle’s tactics appear (to my eye anyway) to be in blatant breach of the BHA rule above. Will the BHA do anything? There’s no point having rules if they are not going to enforce them. Mick has asked Owen Byrne, communications officer of the BHA, for his comment. Watch this space.