BHA pledges action after mirror image problem at Bangor
The BHA will explore ways of getting all racecourses to provide a mirror image in photo-finishes after finding itself in the embarrassing position of having to amend the results of two races from last week's meeting at Bangor.
Judge Michael Roberts called dead-heats for first in the 2m4½f novice handicap chase and third in the 3m handicap chase, but following discussions with the judges team principal he has asked to correct his decisions under rule (B)62.2, which states "the judge may correct any decision before the end of the period of five days starting with the day after the day of the race".
Due to the configuration of Bangor's course last Thursday, the mirror that provides the reverse image could not be used for the two chases, which complicated the task for the inexperienced Roberts, who only started in the role last summer.
Thankfully for the BHA, the official result for betting purposes has been unaffected as, although Oneida Tribe is now judged to have crossed the line first ahead of Pinch Of Ginger, the outcome of the subsequent stewards' inquiry, which resulted in Oneida Tribe being demoted to second due to interference, still stands.
In the second race, for which Shanty Town has now been placed third and Catching On fourth, each-way betting paid to only two places as there were seven runners.
BHA chief regulatory officer Jamie Stier said: "It's essential the BHA carries out all of its raceday officiating duties with the utmost accuracy. In other circumstances it is quite feasible that both bookmakers and punters could have been significantly affected by an incorrect result being called.
"Incidents such as this illustrate why we have the ability to review decisions. The issue has been identified and rectified properly and fairly, in communication with connections of all horses. But that does not alter that our first priority is to get the decisions right on the day.
"As such we will, of course, be taking steps to ensure such an incident does not occur again, and will consider the matter internally."
Regarding the problem of no reverse image being available, Stier added: "The issue with mirrors is not confined to Bangor, which is one of a number of racecourses where the width of the finishing line, dependent on the rail position, is too great for the mirror system to cover the entirety of the finishing line.
"We intend to commence a piece of work with photo-finish suppliers to ascertain whether this issue can be addressed, though there are significant challenges involved when it comes to course layout."
Connections of the Robin Dickin-trained Oneida Tribe remain able to appeal the stewards' decision to amend the placings because of interference, and the BHA has reset the seven-day window for it to be received to Tuesday.
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