Your horse crosses the line first and you’re gloating your winner to your friends. Suddenly, a klaxon goes off and your being told to “hold all tickets” by the racecourse announcer. That sinking feeling sets in, and the long waiting game begins. This guide will help you understand why stewards’ enquiries work and why they’re called, so you can avoid any embarrassing situations at the racecourse!
What is a Stewards’ Enquiry?
In simple terms, a stewards’ enquiry is an enquiry held by the racecourse stewards in relation to an event in a certain race. One of the stipendiary stewards (the stewards who make sure all the rules and regulations are adhered to) presents the case to the panel, who then question the trainer/jockey involved to reach a verdict.
Why does a Stewards’ Enquiry Happen?
Mostly, stewards’ enquiries are called in relation to an incident during a race. For example, if a horse is shown to be interfering with a rival in the closing stages, a stewards’ enquiry will be called to determine whether the interference affected the race result. They will also check to see if any riding offences are involved, which can include a jockey failing to stop their horse drifting dramatically in a certain direction.
How do I know if a Stewards’ Enquiry has been called?
If you’re at the racecourse, you’ll hear the famous “klaxon”. It’s very similar to the sound that is made before an announcement is given at a train station or airport.
The result of the Stewards’ Enquiry will be announced clearly on the course. It will also be announced on TV by the presentator or commentator, and most results sites will normally keep a record.
Can results be changed by the Stewards?
Yes, they can. If a horse is deemed to have won the race by causing interference, then the result can be changed so that the second is promoted to first place. It is rare to see placings altered unless the winning distance is a head or less, so it’s best to keep that in mind so you don’t get your hopes up if you’re on the second past the post.
If the result is changed, all results sites will change to show the new official result and placings.
Will I be out of pocket if the result is changed?
It depends on your bookmaker, but the majority of major online bookies in the UK and Ireland will pay “first past the post” and pay both first and second place. To read more about this, see our full First Past The Post rules guide here.
Some online bookmakers, most shops and all on course bookmakers will only pay out on the official winner. The official winner is the one declared on the course, even if it wasn’t the horse which crossed the line first. Make sure you hold onto your ticket on track if you do finish second for this reason.