It is not often that the weather becomes a central point of debate after a horse race has concluded, however, that is exactly what happened! Fog has caused a serious debate to erupt in the wake of an incorrect placing call by a race steward.
The mistake occurred at Thursday’s meeting at Lingfield. After a foggy day at the racecourse, a photo finish was amended after the judge called incorrect placings. However, the result was left as it was originally declared for betting purposes, leaving both punters and bookmakers frustrated.
Understandably, punters were frustrated by the series of events, although it was the bookmakers who appear to have lost out the most. Many bookmakers agreed to pay out on each way bets for the two runners, despite being under no obligation to do so. Some would view this as a rare act of generosity from an industry that is not well known for such actions. However, without wishing to belittle this act, the PR damage that would come from not paying out may well have been more damaging.
What’s followed is a more predictable response from bookmakers after finding themselves out of pocket! William Hill have lead the charge, stating that the British Horseracing Association (BHA) should refund losses to bookmakers after the steward’s mistake.
Jon Ivan-Duke from William Hill told reporters: “Punters shouldn’t have to suffer so we’ll pay out on ‘both’ results on this occasion, but the BHA should refund bookmakers for every error of this nature. 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.”
The BHA have come back with a typically political response. Stating, that they will conduct an internal investigation before determining a course of action. We here at Heads&Heads would put money on no further action being required. Nevertheless, this is but another spotlight that horse racing could do without.