Racing New South Wales Chairman Of Stewards Ray Murrihy will push for a rule change after a costly mistake at the weigh out scales before the running of the first race at Rosehill on Saturday which saw punters lose their money and jockey Glyn Schofield suspended and fined $2000.
The error was not picked up until after the running of $85,000 Forum Group Sprint (1200m) for two year olds when Schofield weighed in after finishing third on $17 chance Wouldn’t It Be Nice behind the Gai Waterhouse trained Bull Point.
Schofield weighed in more than half a kilogram under his declared weight of 59kgs and Murrihy had no choice but to disqualify the Paul Perry trained youngster.
The experienced jockey was adamant he had weighed out correctly and stable representative Shannon Perry pleaded with stewards not to disqualify Wouldn’t It Be Nice.
”This is not fair on our owners,” Perry said.
”They are all on their horse each-way and they put a hell of a lot into racing. This is not fair on them.”
But Murrihy had no choice under the rules of racing, resulting in those punters that had backed Wouldn’t It Be Nice each way, for the place or in exotics losing their money.
”The rule is black and white, you did not carry the correct weight so the horse has to be disqualified,” Murrihy said.
Fourth horse across the line Killcareless was then elevated to third placing before correct weight was notified.
Murrihy said that he had been pushing for many years to get the rule changed so that punters would not lose their money in this situation and get a refund if the runner was deemed a non-runner as opposed to being disqualified.
”It is terribly disappointing what has happened today,” Murrihy said.
”We have endeavoured to change the rule without much luck and have the horse declared a non-runner in these circumstances so at least punters can get their money back.
”I have raised this over a period of 15 years at least 10 times and the argument against it is that someone will have a horse that is well fancied but might throw away weight so they can get their money back.
”I would say the chances of that happening are fairly negligible.
”We have a conference of stewards in Sydney later this month and I will be raising it again to have this rule changed.”
Wouldn’t It Be Nice’s owner received some consolation with The ATC Chief Executive Darren Pearce offering to recompense for the prizemoney lost due to the disqualification.
And Pearce said that the Australian Turf Club would immediately investigate into installing electronic scales to avoid a repeat of a similar incident.
Even though Schofield could offer no explanation for the mistake he was suspended for six meetings and fined $2000 while a report will be made and sent to the ATC.