Canterbury JC 20 January 2022 – R6 – Request for a Ruling – LINEDANCEKING, STRIKE FORCE and FEELIN’ FANCY

ID: RIB7063

John Oatham, Chief Stipendiary Steward

Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
Mr Oatham, Barry Pelling (Starter), Jockeys Jason Laking and Kavish Chowdhoory

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Request for Ruling

632(1) - Riding/driving infringement - At The Start

Request for Ruling:
Whether Linedanceking, Strike Force and Feelin’ Fancy were denied fair starts

Animal Name:
Linedanceking, Strike Force and Feelin’ Fancy


Race Date:

Race Club:
Canterbury Jockey Club

Race Location:
Riccarton Park - 165 Racecourse Road, Christchurch,

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Riccarton Park, Christchurch

Outcome: Determination

Penalty: The three runners ruled non-starters


Following the running of Race 6, Ford Contracting Rating 74, the Applicant, John Oatham, Chief Stipendiary Steward, lodged an Information Requesting a Ruling pursuant to Rules 918(1)(a) and 632(2) to establish whether LINEDANCEKING (Akshay Balloo) was denied a fair start.

At the commencement of the hearing, Mr Oatham informed the Committee that he also Requested a Ruling from the Committee in respect of two other runners – STRIKE FORCE (Jason Laking) and FEELIN’ FANCY (Kavish Chowdhoory) – either or both of which runners may have also been denied a fair start. The Committee amended the information accordingly pursuant to Rule 915(3).

None of the three runners involved finished in the first four placings.

The basis for the request was that the rider of LINEDANCEKING was not mounted when the gates opened and and that the other two runners were affected, both being slow to leave the barrier and consequently lost considerable ground at the start.

Rule 632 (1) provides:

If in the opinion of the Adjudicative Committee, a horse which does not finish in the first four placings was prevented from taking an effective part in a race owing to the mechanical failure of starting stalls, or is denied a fair start and such occurrence materially prejudiced the chances of that horse (but not where the horse is slow away of its own accord), the Adjudicative Committee may declare such horse to be a non-starter.


Mr Oatham showed head-on and side-on video replays of the start of the Race.

Mr Oatham said the horse, LINEDANCEKING, had drawn barrier 8 in the 9-horse field at the 1400 metres start. It became fractious in the barrier and got its head down on the ground. The Rider had attempted to pull its head up, before dismounting. The horse continued to attempt to “burrow” under the gate, with its Rider standing on the side of the gate. The gates then opened with the Rider still on the side of the gate and the horse with its head still almost on the ground. It was clear that LINEDANCEKING had been denied a fair start, Mr Oatham said.

There were two other runners affected as well, Mr Oatham said. He called the Riders of those runners to give evidence. STRIKE FORCE, ridden by Jason Laking, had drawn barrier 9, outside of LINEDANCEKING. Mr Laking said that LINEDANCEKING had “gone down” and its rider had dismounted. He had been looking into its barrier when the gates opened. He thought his runner had “burst the gates” so he pulled back. He looked to his inside and saw Mr Chowdhoory, who was riding FEELIN’FANCY, which had drawn immediately inside LINEDANCEKING, and thought it had also burst through the gates. He anticipated a false start being declared and eased his mount and looked for the red light. His mount lost all chance, he said. It normally “jumps and runs”.

Mr Oatham said that it was hard to say, from viewing the videos, that STRIKE FORCE had had a fair start.

Mr Chowdhoory said that he was aware of the horse in the adjacent stall giving trouble. He was trying to help that Rider and was not ready for a start. He was not expecting the Race to start and then the gates opened. The video replay showed that his mount was very slow away.

The starter, Mr Barry Pelling, said that he had heard the wrong call from his assistants through a “lack of communication”. He thought he had heard the “all clear” call, but it was probably someone calling “no, no, no”.

Neither Mr Laking nor Mr Chowdhoory had heard the “watch your gates” call as they were watching Mr Balloo, not expecting a start.

Mr Oatham said the situation surrounding LINEDANCEKING was very clear. As far as the other two runners were concerned, it was not so clear but, if the horse in the next barrier did not have a jockey on, their riders were entitled to be “somewhat confused” as to what was happening. The whole race had been affected to some degree, he said.


The Committee carefully considered the submissions presented and reviewed the various available camera angles of the race start.

LINEDANCEKING was clearly denied a fair start, as its Rider was not mounted when the gates opened. It completed the race riderless.

The Riders of both STRIKE FORCE and FEELIN’ FANCY were clearly distracted by the activity in the adjacent stall. LINEDANCEKING had its head on the ground under the gate and its Rider was out of the saddle. It was reasonable for those Riders to think that a start was not imminent and they were caught unawares when the gates did open. Both were slow away. Mr Laking said that he had eased his mount and this was apparent from the video replay. Mr Chowdhoory’s mount was a clear last to jump.

Both runners were very slow to leave the barriers and lost many lengths as a result of their riders, quite reasonably, expecting that the race was not about to be started.

STRIKE FORCE and FEELIN’ FANCY thereafter raced in the rear of the remaining eight runners. LINEDANCEKING raced riderless for the entirety of the race. STRIKE FORCE finished the race in 6th placing and FEELIN’ FANCY was last of the eight runners.


Accordingly, under the provisions of the Rule, the Committee is of the opinion that the following three horses were each denied a fair start:




Those three horses are declared non-starters.


Decision Date: 20/01/2022

Publish Date: 24/01/2022