Hit The Bid victory reopens wind op debate


Hit The Bid sprung a shock when winning at 50-1 after a wind operation

  PICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos) 

 By Tony O’Hehir 12:08pM 23 AUG 2016 

HIT THE BID’S 50-1 victory in the Group 3 Curragh Stakes on Saturday fresh from a wind operation has refuelled the debate over whether such surgery should be made known to the public before the horse runs.

The matter is on the table for discussion by the Turf Club in Ireland, while in Britain the BHA is currently engaged in a project to determine whether more data – including the disclosure of a wind operation – should be made available before punters have a bet.

The issue will be raised at an Irish stewards’ meeting on Thursday, before new chief veterinary officer Dr Lynn Hillyer considers it in more detail after taking up her post at the start of next month.

The Turf Clubon Monday welcomed the move by Hit The Bid’s trainer Darren Bunyan to make the information available before the Curragh contest.

Bunyan told stewards at the Curragh on Saturday that his two-year-old had undergone a wind operation since his previous start and the information was then broadcast to racegoers.

No concrete decision expected

Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said: “Darren was not required to inform us, but I commend him for doing so. When he gave us the information it was announced over the public address system before the race. Getting such information into the public domain is welcome.

“It’s something we have discussed periodically over the years and it will be up for discussion when the stewards meet on Thursday.

“I don’t expect anything concrete to come out of the meeting, but when Dr Lynn Hillyer takes up her position as our chief veterinary officer on September 1 I’m sure it will be something she’ll be looking at.”

Egan added: “One of the reasons that reporting wind operations has not become mandatory is that some wind operations are successful and others are not. So there are a lot of practical difficulties involved.

“We discussed the matter with the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association in the past but there have been no recent discussions on the matter.”

‘Fair for the public’

Hit The Bid, a son of Exceed And Excel, had run twice before Saturday’s race and had his wind operation after finishing seventh in the Marble Hill Stakes, won by Caravaggio, at the Curragh in May.

Bunyan, for whom the colt was a first Group race winner, said: “Hit The Bid is a very big horse. We discovered his problem after his first two runs and I decided to inform the officials of the wind operation before Saturday’s race as I thought it was only fair for the public to know. We think a lot of him.”

Meanwhile, BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: “The BHA is currently engaged on a project to determine whether more data should be made available to punters before they place their bets.

“This includes whether a horse has had a wind operation, but also extends to other information, such as whether a mare is in foal and horses wearing earplugs.

“The project will include consultation with relevant people and bodies across the industry.”

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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