Trainer Roger James is considering taking on the West Australian stewards’ decision that relegated He’s Remarkable to second in the $1m Group 1 Railway Stakes(1600m) at Ascot on the weekend.
James believes he may have received the wrong information from WA racing officialdom immediately after the race when sorting avenues to appeal the decision.
He’s Remarkable was placed second after his jockey Kerrin McEvoy pleaded guilty to careless riding when shifting out and causing interference at the 600m.
Stewards deemed that the chain reaction of McEvoy’s actions caused Luckygray to lose ground greater than the long neck margin at the end of the race and promoted that horse to first place.
The Group 1 is highly valued for both horses as they are both four-year-old entires with future stud careers beckoning.
“I went to the stewards an hour afterwards and asked what avenues were available to me for the likes of an appeal – and I questioned them on it – but they gave me a very strong indication the only way was through a procedural error and not the decision itself.” he said.
“I’ve just got off the phone to a West Australian QC, who owns 30 horses himself and has spent a lifetime in racing, and he said that was not correct.
“He said the penalty appeals tribunal (three people) will revisit it.”
An appeal has to be lodged within 14 days of the race.
James believes there was no evidence to prove He’s Remarkable had caused the incident and was “gutted” the decision went against him.
“I asked them (stewards) to show us some evidence of where they could prove that it was our horse that caused the incident and they couldn’t do that, but the ruling still went against us,” he said.
“It’s going to be a costly process but the owners are business people and it’s certainly not out of the question that we go ahead.
“I’ve looked at the decision from every possible angle and however you look at it, it’s a bad decision.
“It’s been taxing because you are trying to be a good sport and trying to do the best by your owners, and I’ve been through it 1000 times.
“I feel pretty washed out by it all but I’m going to see it through to the end and whether we appeal or not, it won’t be through a lack of consideration of every factor.
“The owners are going through the process of considering every possible option.”
Auckland businessmen Gerard Peterson, Rod Baulcomb and John Struthers race the four-year-old son of Pentire.
Consensus of opinion throughout Australasia was that the decision to relegate was the wrong one.
Perth Racing used twitter to distance itself from the judicial process.
“Just to clarify for the punters, the stewards are part of Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) and PR does not have any role in the steward process,” it said.
James, on returning to Cambridge, has had continued support and encouragement to “put a stake in the ground” with an appeal.
Despite the controversy and pressures, he was not ruling out a future trip to Perth.
“I’d go back, yes,” James said.
“They treated us like kings until this decision.
“And we’ve all seen bad judicial decisions in New Zealand and in other states of Australia.”
He’s Remarkable flies back to New Zealand on Sunday and will have a month’s break in preparation for the Group 1 $2m Doncaster Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on April 21.
“In the chairman’s room at Ascot after the races on Saturday, people were walking up to me that I’d never even met and to a man were genuinely apologetic,” James said.
“There were 20,000 people there on Saturday and I was walking out afterwards and people were coming up to me and saying `I can’t believe it – that was just a shocking decision’.
“The informed people that have taken time to contact me since then has been overwhelming.
“He’s (He’s Remarkable) a stud prospect.
“He’s got a lovely current pedigree and an Australian Group 1 would have escalated his value immensely.
“We should have been putting to bed a horse that was worth $4 million to $5 million on Saturday night.”