Fillies' Mile result amended by BHA after Mother Earth and Snowfall mix-up
Mother Earth and Snowfall, who were saddled incorrectly when running in the Group 1 Fillies' Mile, have had their placings swapped but have not been disqualified after the BHA admitted the rules did not allow it to do so.
Confusion followed the running of the race at Newmarket this month when the result was queried on social media, where it was pointed out that Snowfall, who had appeared to outrun her odds in finishing third at 50-1, looked more like her better-fancied stablemate Mother Earth, who had finished eighth.
Having been alerted to the concern, trainer Aidan O'Brien, who was not at Newmarket and claimed not to have seen the race, informed stewards of an apparent mix-up, attributing it to a team of Ballydoyle staff who are based in Britain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and unfamiliar with the horses.
As a consequence of the error, Mother Earth and Snowfall had raced with the incorrect jockeys and from the wrong stalls, but as they had carried the correct weight and had been entered in the race, the BHA announced that the rules did not permit disqualification and instead amended the result to place Mother Earth third and Snowfall eighth.
In a statement, the BHA said: "The saddling of the correct horses for a race is the responsibility of the trainer. An investigation remains ongoing in relation to the incorrect saddling of the horses and as such the BHA will make no further comment at this time.
"The grounds for potential disqualification are set out in the rules of racing, are specific and do not include horses starting from the wrong starting stalls or carrying the wrong jockey. Because the horses that ran in the race were duly entered and carried the correct weight, the only possible disqualification ground would be if the horses were the subject of fraudulent practice.
"Therefore the rules provide no grounds for disqualifying the horses, pending the result of the ongoing investigation. However, as a result of this case the rules will now be reassessed to determine whether there should be additional grounds for disqualification."
In addition to reviewing the rules around disqualification, the BHA plans to investigate whether a revamp is needed to raceday procedures to ensure future errors are spotted.
The BHA said: "More generally, the BHA is also considering the implications of the incident to assess whether further changes to the relevant raceday procedures may be brought in, utilising the new raceday officiating structure, as an additional safeguard against trainer error and to minimise the risk of such an event reoccurring."
A number of bookmakers made payouts on the result of the race whether punters backed Snowfall, Mother Earth or Dubai Fountain, who finished fourth.
More on the Newmarket mix-up:
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