Buick hit with eight-day ban for failing to pull up horse
Rider to miss Craven meeting after Chelmsford punishment
William Buick’s first ride back in Britain after triumphing at the highest level in Dubai on Saturday earned the Godolphin rider an eight-day ban that rules him out of the three-day Craven meeting at Newmarket next month.
Buick, riding unraced three-year-old Zillion for John Gosden in the mile maiden at Chelmsford on Thursday evening, was deemed by the stewards to have “failed to pull up a horse where it was contrary to the horse’s welfare to continue as there was a problem which was materially affecting the colt’s performance”.
Zillion finished fourth of the five runners, beaten ten and a half lengths, with Buick appearing to let the horse finish in his own time up the straight, a ride that took the attention of the stewards who held an inquiry into the running and riding.
Buick, clearly confused by the judgement, was reluctant to comment in the immediate aftermath when contacted by the Racing Post and said it was too soon to say if he would appeal the decision or not, adding only: “I’m disappointed to potentially be missing the Craven meeting.”
The stewards interviewed the rider and the trainer’s representative. They also received a report from the veterinary officer, who confirmed that an initial post-race examination of the colt revealed “Zillion’s respiratory rate was within normal limits although marginally raised”. However, a second examination revealed the colt to be “two-tenths lame on the left-fore”.
Explaining their decision to pass down an eight-day ban, stipendiary steward Sam Angell told At The Races: “Initially the stewards had concerns over the effort Mr Buick was making in the straight. He did not appear to be giving the horse a hands and heels ride so we inquired into what the reason was for that.
“William did report at scales that the horse had hung badly and under his opinion was unrideable. The rules require that you give this horse a hands and heels ride. Having established that there is something wrong that is materially affecting its performance to such a degree that he can’t give it a hands and heels ride, at that stage William has to pull the horse up as the rules are written.”
According to the stewards’ report, Buick stated his instructions were to settle the colt, get in behind the favourite and ride the race but, despite his best efforts, the colt had hung violently left up the straight, a fact which he reported at scales.
The trainer’s representative stated that the ride given accorded with the trainer’s instructions and that he had spoken to the trainer who was satisfied, under the circumstances, with the ride given. The stewards noted their explanations.
However, they found Buick in breach of Rule (D)45.3 in that he failed to pull up a horse where it was contrary to the horse’s welfare to continue as there was a problem which was materially affecting the colt’s performance and suspended him for the eight days, Thursday, April 13 to Thursday, April 20.
Eight days is the entry point for a breach of the rule and means, subject to a potential appeal, Buick will miss Newmarket’s three-day Craven meeting starting April 18.