Forthright Forsyth!

Trainer of Abogado agrees with DQ by stewards when jockey fell from his horse

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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It does not happen often when a winner is disqualified by the race day stewards because the jockey was not fully on board or not at all when a horse goes by the winning post.

Yet, this rare phenomenon took place at Caymanas Park last Saturday (June 22) in the sixth race, which was a basic claiming event run over three furlongs (600 metres).

Abogado (9-5), with apprentice Kiaman McGregor in the saddle, rallied on the inside rails to beat by 1 lengths Aquilo, with the young rider falling off almost at the line of the winning post.

There were replays after replays showing the incident, then the final decision of the stewards was made public – Abogado trained by Gregory Forsyth was disqualified completely out of the race because the jockey was not in the saddle when the horse went by the winning post.

The stewards then posted the photo-finish snap to further vindicate their decision to disqualify and award the race to 9-1 chance Aquilo.

Rule 53 of the Rules of Racing, which guided the stewards to disqualify McGregor and Abogado, reads in full as follows: “ The judge shall occupy the judge's box at the time the horses pass the winning post. He shall announce his decision immediately or after considering the photograph and shall determine the winner according to that part of the horse's head, excluding the ears, which first reaches the perpendicular plane of the near edge of the winning post, PROVIDED THAT THE COMPLETE BODY OF THE HORSE PASSES THE WINNING POST WITH HIS RIDER IN THE SADDLE , and shall determine the remaining placings in a similar manner. Such decision shall be final, unless an objection to the winner or any placed horses is made and sustained: provided that this rule shall not prevent a judge from correcting a mistake, after receiving permission to do so from the stewards. But no correction shall be permitted after the official signal is displayed.”

As is commonplace at any racetrack in the world, punters and also racing professionals offered different views on the decision to disqualify.

Forsyth, the man at the centre of the decision was, however, quite sombre yet disappointed when he spoke with this publication.

“Yes, the win was very important for me and my team at the stables. There is no doubt about that.

“I saw the footage of the race in the steward's room, frame by frame. I saw where the finish line is demarcated and quite frankly, I have to admit that the stewards had no choice but to disqualify my horse ( Abogado) in the end. Bitter feeling, yes, of course, but such is the sport of racing. and having accepted the disqualification, I am simply moving on to try and find another winner,” a forthright Forsyth stated.

As for young McGregor, he did not have much to offer as to whether the disqualification was correct or not.

“Right now I don't know what to say. I have to look at it (film of the race) myself and then I can tell.”

Asked why he came off his mount, McGregor responded: “It was a quick decision to make and a jockey has to make quick decisions when in a race; but I felt like the horse might be going down and I just wanted to make sure.”

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