Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Al Kazeem's glad he wasn't eclipsed by French system

If last Saturday's Eclipse Stakes had been run in France, Al Kazeem would have collected the third-place prize money instead of being lfft at the rightful winner of the Group 1 race after costing Mukhadram second place due to major interference in the closing stages.

Jockey Paul Hanagan was almost put over the fence and while the best horse won the race, Mukhadram was prevented from finishing second which went to Declaration of War.

The outcome deprived Mukhradam owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum £46,000 in prize money and each-way and forecast punters of a return.

After a stewards' enquiry, the result was allowed to stand and jockey James Doyle banned for five days for careless riding.

Under French rules, a horse who prevents another from achieving the best possible finishing position, is disqualified and placed one place behind the horse who suffered. That would have meant Al Kazeem finishing third.

British racing is different and the rule is that a result will stand and only the jockey punished if it's deemed the horse concerned would have won regardless of the interference, in other words did not effect the winning result.

The French believe in punishing the horse that causes the problem, no matter where it occurs, so an incident could happen a long way out and the horse skate up by 10 lengths, only to lose the race.

That's not something most punters would welcome as everyone likes to see the best horse getting the prize as was the case with Al Kazeem.

But if the manoeuvre had cost Mukhadram victory, he still would not have got the verdict.

Yes, Al Kazeem would have been disqualified and placed last, but Mukhadram would only have been second as Declaration Of War finished in front of him and was not involved in the interference.

Hardly fair, one might argue, but at least it doesn't lead to ridiculous outcomes in the context of the whole race.

Meanwhile, the South African sprinter Shea Shea, unluckily beaten by Sole Power in Royal Ascot's King, can take the step up to six furlongs in Saturday's Newmarket July Cup in his stride and take his revenge on Power.

There has been plenty of support for him all week and 4/1 should be snapped up. .

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