What Is A Stewards Enquiry In Horse Racing?

A Stewards Enquiry is an enquiry in connection to a potential breach of the Rules of Horse Racing.

The Stewards Enquiry is held at the racecourse the race takes place by a Panel advised by the Stipendiary Steward. The Panel investigates the breach and questions all jockeys or trainers involved.

While questioning the riders and trainer the Panel have available to them at least four camera angles of the race. As they watch the race back from the four separate angles this probes more questions in connection to the breach of rules.

The Stewards Room cause tension to racecourse fans as they wait for the verdict to the Stewards Enquiry.

Find out more about Stewards Enquiries today:

Stewards Enquiry

What is a Stewards’ Enquiry?

The Stewards at the racecourse will call an enquiry if they feel an incident has taken place during the race which may have affected the result.

They will quickly assess whether the winner is involved and, if not, will announce this immediately so that bets can be settled. If a matter is deemed complicated or too serious it is referred to the British Horseracing Authority whose disciplinary panel will review.

Any infringement of the rules will be looked at closely but it usually requires obvious interference before there is any likelihood of a result being altered.

What happens if a Stewards’ Enquiry is announced?

If the Stewards decide that an enquiry is necessary and it may involve the winner, you will hear the klaxon sound on the racecourse. This will be followed by the advice to retain all betting tickets until the result of the enquiry has been announced.

If significant interference is deemed to have taken place, the stewards are likely to interview the jockeys involved and replay video footage before deciding whether to take any action.

Racecourses record footage from various angles to assist the stewards.

Bookmakers will not pay out winnings until it is confirmed that either the winner is not involved or that final placings are confirmed.

If they decide to change the placings, they will announce an amended result.

First Past the Post

Some leading bookmakers payout on first past the post.

In the event of a disqualification, they will honour bets placed on the horse who was first past the post and will also payout on the promoted horse.

Others offer refunds on disqualified win bets.

Check terms with your bookmaker.

Controversial Stewards’ Enquiries in History

There have been some highly controversial decisions made by the stewards over the years.

In recent times, the rules have been changed to the extent that it is now comparatively rare for a horse to lose the race in the stewards’ room.

Unless the infringement is clear and obvious, the stewards will take separate action such as a fine for the jockey for not taking action to avoid the interference.

French-trained Nureyev was a dramatic winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in 1980, only to lose the race in the stewards’ room. He and jockey Philippe Paquet were adjudged to have caused interference and relegated to last place behind Known Fact.

The 1985 Arc also sparked controversy when French ace Sagace was demoted in favour of Britain’s Rainbow Quest. In 1988 Royal Gait won the Ascot Gold Cup decisively for France, only to be placed last with the race awarded to Sadeem.

The French were on the right side of the stewards’ decision in 2010 when Special Duty was promoted ahead of 66-1 shot Jacqueline Quest after losing by a nose. The demoted filly was trained by Sir Henry Cecil who took the decision gracefully.

In 2015, Simple Verse past the post in front in the St Leger, beating Aidan O’Brien’s Bondi Beach by a head. The stewards decided that the filly had caused interference and reversed the placings. Connections of Simple Verse launched a successful appeal and the horse was re-instated.

Summary of a Stewards Enquiry

A Stewards Enquiry is an official enquiry into the outcome of a horse race.

It is normally caused when one horse causes interference to another, potentially altering what the result of the race should be. The aim with all horse races is that they are run fairly. On-course Stewards carry out these investigations and have the power to disqualify or amend results as they see fit.

For similar articles be sure to check out our horse racing hub pages.

As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.