Fife turns to Ireland in bid to continue career of banned Classic Seniority
The connections of Classic Seniority, the sprinter banned from racing in Britain for six months after his latest starting stalls misdemeanour at Goodwood on Saturday, hope to race the blacklisted horse in Ireland.
Having refused to enter the stalls before the Stewards' Cup consolation race the ten-time winner was withdrawn by the starter. As this was the third time a report had been lodged against him, the Marjorie Fife-trained six-year-old was given a lengthy red card.
Joint-owner Tony Huggins expressed anger at the punishment, but Fife is hopeful Classic Seniority can contest Irish races during his British absence, provided he first passes a compulsory stalls test in Ireland.
"We're hopefully going to take him to Ireland for races there," said Fife, "I'm a big believer some good will come from all this, but I still think it's so sad he got his third ticket for what happened at Goodwood. He wasn't being nasty. He just swung his hips."
Should Classic Seniority race twice abroad without behaving poorly, Fife will be permitted to ask the BHA to reconsider the ban.
If her stable stalwart competes overseas he will emulate Spanish Moon, who won the 2009 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Prix Foy for Sir Michael Stoute while serving a ban in Britain.
Explaining the BHA's position, chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea said: "Horses who are unruly at the start not only affect other horses and their riders who have loaded safely, but also their connections and those that have bet on the race.
"In light of this, the rules have to both protect those people and have an element of deterrent with regards to horses who are repeatedly challenging at the start.
"Six-month bans are triggered once a horse has received three starter's reports in a 12-month period. Starter's reports can either come from when a horse is unruly at the start, or if three late load requests are received within 12 months, indicating a potential problem with the horse entering the stalls."
Dunshea added: "In the case of Classic Seniority, six late load requests were received between July 29 and October 13, 2017. At this stage connections would have been informed, as is usual procedure, that should he be the subject of another starter's report within the allotted time frame the horse would face a six-month ban.
"He was also subject to two stalls tests in this time, one in August 2017 and one in April 2018, which he passed with the assistance of a blindfold.
"The horse’s unruly behaviour at the start at Goodwood triggered a third starter's report and, as such, a six-month ban. Bans are only used in cases when horses have a clear and sustained history of issues over a number of starts."
Goodwood's stalls handlers represent RaceTech, whose racing operations and safety manager Andy Peverell said: "The RaceTech stalls handlers are a highly skilled team of horsemen who carry out loading procedures to the highest standards on a daily basis.
"Safety for horses and jockeys is paramount at the start of all races. Any decision to withdraw a horse is made by the BHA starter."
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