The British Horseracing Authority heard a three hour appeal into the outcome of the St. Leger.
And their decision was to reverse the reversal decision of their own stewards! Simple Verse is now officially the winner of the 2015 St.Leger.
No expense had been spared by connections of both Bondi Beach (named the winner after a stewards’ inquiry) and Simple Verse, the filly that came past the post first on the day. They had hired two of the more expensive QC’s in the legal profession.
So this is where we end up. The result of a horse race argued by barristers. Should it really come to this?
Personally I had first lost, and then won on the St. Leger at Doncaster. I had backed the Aidan O’Brien trained Bondi Beach and did believe he had a chance of winning prior to the two bumper car like incidents when he and the admirable filly, Simple Verse, bounced off each other. Simple Verse won the race by a head.
But then came the announcement that stewards would be making their own decision on whether she had won by fair means or foul.
Punters were divided on whether or not my Bondi Beach would have won the race but for twice being bumped by the winner. I found myself in the unusual position of being pleased that my bet had won, while also having huge sympathy for the connections of the lovely Simple Verse. I could understand the anger of her trainer, Ralph Beckett.
The race was actually won in the Stewards room. After a very shaky start to proceedings, the jockey aboard Bondi Beach, Colm O’Donoghue, easily won the battle of words over the likeable Simple Verse jockey, Andrea Atzeni. He was furious when the reversal of places was announced at the course, throwing his whip across the changing room. You felt for Atzeni.
None of us can 100% know if Bondi Beach would have won but for the collisions. I am among the minority in thinking he would have. But it can only be a guess.
I happen to think Simple Verse should have kept the race. I know that is a contradiction. As is my constantly harping on about how few controversial finishes are overturned by the stewards, only for me to then suggest they shouldn’t have done so this time around.
We should perhaps not moan about how rare such a reversal is if, when they do alter the result, we also complain.
I don’t believe the result of races should be decided in a building in London weeks after the event took place. I don’t believe that the best lawyer should win a race. The best horse on the day should.
The racing fraternity will again be divided on whether, after this ruling, that is the case.
I know one thing for certain. The bookie that paid me my winnings on Bondi Beach is not getting the money back. I’ve spent it!