Lingfield: the course where the incident took place
PICTURE: Jon Hoy
By Tony McFadden 2:26PM 30 DEC 2016
THE judge at the centre of a controversy regarding the incorrect result being called to the 7f nursery at Lingfield on Wednesday has been stood down by the BHA pending a full investigation into the incident.
The third and fourth-placed horses had to be reversed after it emerged that the result had been declared incorrectly by judge Graham Ford.
The incident had ramifications for punters and bookmakers as those who backed Elementary, the horse initially and incorrectly placed third, were paid out on each-way bets, while those who had backed Sun Angel, the actual third who was originally placed fourth, were not.
Some bookmakers paid out on both horses but were under no obligation to do so.
Ford will be able to continue in his principal role as clerk of the scales while the investigation takes place.
BHA head of media Robin Mounsey said: “First, we wish to apologise to racegoers, bettors and bookmakers for an error in judging the 2.55pm race at Lingfield on Wednesday which led to the reversal of the third and fourth placed horses after the result had been declared for betting purposes.
“We take the matter very seriously and a full investigation is underway to understand the circumstances which led to the judge’s initial error and to mitigate the risk of this happening in future.
“In the meantime, and pending completion of our investigation, the BHA can confirm that the judge concerned, Graham Ford, will not carry out the role of judge during this period.”
Jon Ivan-Duke of William Hill, who paid out on both results, said on Wednesday that it was unfair bookmakers were left to pick up the tab for the error.
He said: “It is entirely the fault of the judge, so why should bookmakers bear the brunt of another sorry saga from British horseracing? Unfortunately, trust in the governing body is at an all-time low and that confidence needs to be restored as a matter of urgency.”
However, the BHA ruled out the possibility of compensating bookmakers or punters.
Mounsey said: “We accept that an error was made and acknowledge that the incident created confusion and frustration for both punters and bookmakers. It is a commercial decision for bookmakers if they wish to pay out on the amended result.
“From time to time, and for a variety of reasons, the result of a race is changed after the ‘weighed in’ announcement. In the circumstances, it would not be appropriate for the BHA to alter results for betting purposes, or to reimburse bookmakers or punters based on an amended result.”
Mounsey added: “Thankfully, events such as these are not common in our sport and our focus is on reducing the risk of them happening in the future.”