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Pacemakers. Are the rules of racing being broken?

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  • #11814
    Gingertipster
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    • Total Posts 29166

    The rules of racing are (in my opinion) being broken, without the authorities doing anything about it.

    The rules (I believe) state that all horses have to try to win. That’s every horse, including pacemakers.

    I am not totally against pacemakers. If (as they used to) they go a strong, but sensible pace, where they have some chance of keeping it up. These days pacemakers are often sent on at a suicidal pace. In both the St James’s Palace stakes and Coronation stakes, they were sent on at a rate only a mythical horse could keep up. Chintz racing clear for a long way where the track record was broken.

    So were they trying to win?

    If any front runner (non-pacemaker) went 7 or even 6 furlong pace at a mile, there would be questions asked. One of the easiest ways of getting a horse beat is to go off too fast, with no hope of lasting home. So why are pacemakers seemingly allowed to do that exact same thing?

    Are there different rules for pacemakers to other horses? I have not heard of any.

    If a pacemaker is slowly away, it is chased up to lead as soon as possible. Any jockey in his right mind would not do this on a normal horse. Even one that needs to be in front would make steady ground up to lead.

    It may seem as though pacemakers do not hinder anyone, but they do. Suicidal pacemakers are against the chance of any other horse who prefers to lead or race alongside the pace.

    Punters who know anything about racing, know they are pacemakers, but that’s not the point.

    Every horse has to run on it’s own merits (that’s the rules as I understand them) often pacemakers do not.

    Why aren’t jockeys and connections of pacemakers who go off at a suicidal pace, clobbered as non-triers?

    Unless of course; the authorities want to change the rules to exempt them.

    May be Paul Struthers can answer this.

    Mark

    Value Is Everything
    #235294
    rory
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2685

    I think you’re misinterpreting the rule Ginge. The BHA are happy that pacemakers are used and are therefore happy that these horses are being ridden with a view to maximising the chances of other runners. The understanding is that these are not "live runners" and are often outclassed. That isn’t an issue and they are not expected to be ridden in a way which would maximise their own chance of winning, or they wouldn’t need to be classified as pacemakers. The rule is basically stating that if they should find themselves unexpectedly beating their stablemate, they can’t simply move out of the way. Pulling up or easing off on a pacemaker who is still in with a shout of prizemoney would naturally incur a ban under Rule 155 (i).

    I think you may be right and some pacemakers stop competing or are pulled out of the action prematurely, but plenty of pacemakers have won decent races over the years and there’s been no question of any pacemaker I’ve seen being denied victory by their jockey taking a pull.

    #235303
    Tuffers
    Member
    • Total Posts 1402

    IMHO giving the rest of the field a 20 length head start isn’t maximising a horse’s chances of winning either but that doesn’t seem to raise eyebrows with the stewards. :evil:

    #235306
    Gingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 29166

    Think you have misunderstood Rory. Certainly not saying any pacemaker has taken a pull not to win.

    My point is the opposite, they are going too fast early to win, which is deliberately against their own chance of winning. I have no problem them maximising the chance of others, as long as they don’t eliminate their own chance of winning.

    As I said years ago horses did go a strong sensible pace, not a suicidal one. Pacemakers have held on in the past. Maroof and S….., whatever it was. Even now some pacemakers are still well ridden, it’s the ones going off seemingly intensionally too fast I object to. Being denied ANY chance of winning.

    Value Is Everything
    #235326
    rory
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2685

    Think you have misunderstood Rory. Certainly not saying any pacemaker has taken a pull not to win.

    My point is the opposite, they are going too fast early to win, which is deliberately against their own chance of winning. I have no problem them maximising the chance of others, as long as they don’t eliminate their own chance of winning.

    As I said years ago horses did go a strong sensible pace, not a suicidal one. Pacemakers have held on in the past. Maroof and S….., whatever it was. Even now some pacemakers are still well ridden, it’s the ones going off seemingly intensionally too fast I object to. Being denied ANY chance of winning.

    I don’t misunderstand you at all Ginge, just pointing out what the authorities would consider to be breaking the rule for pacemakers. Going off far too fast is simply bad pacemaking and it’s a tad pointless to punish such rides as non triers. The fact that the authorities recognise pacemakers as entities means they are giving them carte blanche to go haring off at crazy speeds, otherwise the term need not exist. I agree in principle that scorching off is pointless and ruins any chance a pacemaker would have if it was given a more judicious front running ride. On that much we agree.

    It’s hardly confined to pacemakers though, is it? Shouldn’t any jockey who sets off at a speed which his mount cannot sustain be found guilty?

    #235336
    robert99
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    • Total Posts 899

    Gingertipster.

    A horse has to be ridden, and seen to be ridden, to obtain its best possible placing, on its merits. However, it does not have to win and may not even be able to win.

    This rule is very badly worded as to comply with the rule a short running pacemaker has to slow down its early pace to run a longer distance and be in with any chance of its best placing at the finish. The BHA should stop 6f horses, say, as being used as pacemakers for 12f races, but not 10f+ horses. That is, the BHA should prejudge and rule on the ability of any pacemaker before the race to be able finish on its merits. Pacemakers should then be declared as fitting.

    Without sectional timing to educate trainers and jockeys in UK and Ireland we remain at a huge international disadvantage in this area and you end up with embarrassing farces such as last year’s Melbourne Cup and this year’s Derby, amongst many other races at the opposite extreme where the pacemakers entered have subsequently been totally ignored.

    "H1 PACEMAKERS
    The HRA are of the opinion that the Rules of Racing do not prohibit the running of horses as pacemakers as such, provided they are run on their merits as required by Rule 155 (i).

    155. (i) Every horse which runs in a race shall be run and be seen to be run on its merits. This means the Rider must comply with Instruction H18 and take and be seen to take all other reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race, however it develops, to ensure the horse is given a full opportunity to achieve the best possible placing. "

    #235346
    Withnail
    Member
    • Total Posts 28

    Without sectional timing to educate trainers and jockeys in UK and Ireland

    The golden fleece of sectional timing. We still have the situation, though, where some clerks of the course are unable to tell us how much their rail movements impact on race distances.

    #235350
    Librettist
    Member
    • Total Posts 559

    The Mrs had Chintz today, each way and didn’t get the fact it was there to race for someone else!

    It’s the fun punters who won’t neccesarily know that these horses are there not to race for themselves that I feel sorry for.[/u]

    #235354
    robert99
    Participant
    • Total Posts 899

    Without sectional timing to educate trainers and jockeys in UK and Ireland

    The golden fleece of sectional timing. We still have the situation, though, where some clerks of the course are unable to tell us how much their rail movements impact on race distances.

    We actually have the situation where through people talking constructively to BHA we have persuaded them to give out helpful information, such as below for Ayr. All clerks can give this level of information and those who still choose not to are now very obvious should the BHA take them to task on their record. Getting further from the thread topic, BHA have also taken up my suggestion to trial hand held GPS distance measuring devices to give out more precise distance information after any track changes which become necessary in turf racing. There is now quite a ground swell with BHA etc for taking racing into the 21st Century after decades of inertia by the Jockey Club.

    AYR – Flat (Updated:19/06/2009 at 07:02)

    Going
    Good, Good to Firm in Places (Watered)
    (GoingStick: 8.4 on Friday at 07:00)

    Stalls
    Round Course – Inside

    Rails
    Both bends moved to minimum width – additional 10yds on all
    starts over 7f
    Rail moved across on straight course – racing on 18m fresh
    ground nearest to Stand Rail.

    Weather
    4mm rain since yesterday 2pm. Forecast: Mainly dry with light
    showers possible today, clearing this evening then dry overnight
    and brighter, breezier and mainly dry tomorrow.

    #235385
    Gingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 29166

    Going off far too fast is simply bad pacemaking and it’s a tad pointless to punish such rides as non triers.

    The fact that the authorities recognise pacemakers as entities means they are giving them carte blanche to go haring off at crazy speeds, otherwise the term need not exist. I agree in principle that scorching off is pointless and ruins any chance a pacemaker would have if it was given a more judicious front running ride. On that much we agree.

    It’s hardly confined to pacemakers though, is it? Shouldn’t any jockey who sets off at a speed which his mount cannot sustain be found guilty?

    Yes they should punish any rider of any horse if it is obvious.

    You say it is bad pacemaking to go off too fast. But this is not always the case. Sometimes the pacemaker has done it’s job, if it has made some of it’s stable companion’s main rivals go off too fast as well. Or even to stop rivals from going a good pace.

    If there are horses in the field that have to lead or race alongside the pace to show it’s best. Pacemakers can go off too fast and ruin a "front runner’s" chance. So making it easier for the fancied stable companion.

    Also, if a jockey wants to go faster than the pacemaker is going it could take on the pacemaker. But if it does, the Pacemaker can ensure too strong a pace. It does not matter if the pacemaker’s chance is ruined, but the other horse’s jockey does not want his chance ruined. So it is a difficult decision for any jockey to take on a pacemaker.

    Mark

    Value Is Everything
    #235386
    Gingertipster
    Participant
    • Total Posts 29166

    The Mrs had Chintz today, each way and didn’t get the fact it was there to race for someone else!

    It’s the fun punters who won’t neccesarily know that these horses are there not to race for themselves that I feel sorry for.[/u]

    Exactly Librettist, even a fun punter deserves a run for their money.

    Value Is Everything
    #235394
    Onthesteal
    Member
    • Total Posts 1387

    The Mrs had Chintz today, each way and didn’t get the fact it was there to race for someone else!

    It’s the fun punters who won’t neccesarily know that these horses are there not to race for themselves that I feel sorry for.[/u]

    Exactly Librettist, even a fun punter deserves a run for their money.

    All very true, infact, I wonder just how much money bookies have made on pacemakers since, say, the millenium? The fact that they’re not highlighted well enough on race cards and newspapers is plain deception at best…now I’m thinking about it.

    Confirmed pacemakers? I’m starting to lean against it of late as I think it’s being abused to a degree. Maybe, say, Coolmores ‘triers’ should each carry a 2LB penalty for the use of them?……I think that’s quite fair on a few levels.

    #235398
    Cav
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4825

    It’s hardly confined to pacemakers though, is it? Shouldn’t any jockey who sets off at a speed which his mount cannot sustain be found guilty?

    Very good point. This happens every second day of the year but funnily enough only becomes an issue this time of year.

    I’m all for pacemakers, without them we’d have Group 3 and Listed class horses finishing much closer then they should do in Group 1’s, devaluing form and over a period of time possibly having a situation where famous races would be in trouble with the pattern committee.

    The golden fleece of sectional timing. We still have the situation, though, where some clerks of the course are unable to tell us how much their rail movements impact on race distances.

    In fairness to the BHA they have made huge improvements in disseminating this information to the general public over the last 12 months. Lets hope that policy continues to be built upon.

    #235410
    Tuffers
    Member
    • Total Posts 1402

    I really don’t see why the rules of racing shouldn’t apply to every horse. As earlier posters have pointed out, the bookies are happy to offer prices and accept bets on pacemakers so they should be required to be ridden to maximise their chance of victory.

    If you can have pacemakers in Group 1 races then you also have to allow pacemakers in other types of race. Many handicappers require a strong pace to produce their best form so how about pacemakers in those races?

    I don’t agree with the idea of pacemakers as a general principle but if they are ridden in a way which does not maximise their chance of winning then their riders should be found in breach of the rules.

    The only way round that approach IMHO is for pacemakers to be declared as such and for them to be excluded from the betting. They should then also be discounted from the race for form and result purposes ie they should have a symbol put against their name in the formbook to show they were running as a pacemaker and the handicapper should be required not to reassess their mark based on the run.

    #235412
    Cav
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4825

    …..but if they are ridden in a way which does not maximise their chance of winning then their riders should be found in breach of the rules.

    Should Jamie Spencer be found in breach for the way he rode your horse at Salisbury the other day? Didn’t look like he made any effort to maximise your fillys chance of winning.

    #235416
    seabird
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2924

    That opens up a whole new subject, Cav.

    Should jockeys be penalised for injudicious rides?

    Can of worms, probably.

    Colin

    #235417
    Cav
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4825

    Exactly my point Seabird. Where do you draw the line with this? As I say its only this time of the year when this ever becomes an issue.

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