Gore RC 24 September 2021 – R8 (request for a ruling) – CURVE

ID: RIB4901

Michael Pitman - Trainer

Mr M Davidson - Stipendiary Steward

Mr N Skelt

Persons Present:
Mr M Pitman (Trainer of CURVE and representing the Owners), Mr S Batt (Starter), Mr R McIlwrick (Starter's Assistant), Mr K Chowdhoory (Apprentice Jockey)

Information Number:

Decision Type:
Request for Ruling

632(1) - Riding/driving infringement

Request for Ruling:
As to whether the horse CURVE (K Chowdhoory) was denied a fair start

Animal Name:


Race Date:

Race Club:
Gore Racing Club

Race Location:
Gore Racecourse - 136 Gore-Mataura Highway, Gore, 9772

Race Number:

Hearing Date:

Hearing Location:
Gore Racecourse

Outcome: Determination


Following the running of Race 8 the Hokonui Suzuki Handicap an Information was filed (A15860) by Stipendiary Steward Mr M Davidson “Requesting A /Ruling” as to whether the horse Curve (K Chowdhoory) was denied a fair start.

Mr M Pitman (Senior) the Trainer of Curve and also representing the owners was present at the hearing, along with Mr S Batt the Official Starter and Mr R Mcllwrick the Starter’s Assistant.

Mr K Chowdhoory Apprentice Jockey and Rider of Curve attended the hearing at the request of the Adjudicator to give evidence at a later point.

Rule 632(1) provides as follows:

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


Mr Davidson read the Rule to clarify certain aspects pertaining to this alleged incident, after which Stipendiary Steward Miss Hayley pointed out on the various video clips, the actions of Curve, and the Assistant Starter Mr Mcllwrick.

Mr Davidson stated that Curve had been fractious prior to the start and was drawn 3 and was the last horse to be loaded into the gates. Mr Davidson highlighted the loading of Curve into the gates on the video clips and acknowledged Assistant Starter Mr Mcllwrick had assisted the horse into the gates.

It was Mr Davidson’s opinion that the horse had reared just prior to the gates opening, and that there was no mechanical fault with the gate.

Mr Mcllwrick acknowledged he had assisted the horse whilst going into the gates but did not hold him when the gate was released. After viewing the slow motion video clip of this action Mr Mcllwrick confirmed he had placed his hand into the gate, but not specifically on the horse.

Mr Pitman stated that the video evidence was very clear in his opinion. Curve had started 21 times at the races and had caused no issues at the barrier previously or going into the starting gates. Mr Pitman said the horse was settled in the gates, it was not fractious and all four feet were on the ground prior to the gates opening.

He continued by highlighting the video footage, showing Mr Mcllwrick’s hand coming across into the gate, at which point Curve has reacted and has raised his head to one side and then reared as the gates opened.

Apprentice Jockey Mr Chowdhoory was called to give evidence. He stated that it all happened in a “blurr” and split second, and that he was totally focused on staying on the horse. He could add nothing further.


The Committee carefully considered all of the submissions presented, and in particular reviewed the video footage several times, focusing on the slow motion and still shots of the incident in particular.

There is no question or suggestion of fault of the mechanical gates not opening. The video footage is also clear that the Assistant Starter Mr Mcllwrick has reached in just prior to the gates opening. Mr Pitman is correct that the horse has all four feet on the ground prior to the gates releasing and did not appear fractious at this point.

The video evidence shows Curve reacting at the point of time Mr Mcllwrick has reached inwards. It is unclear where Mr Mcllwrick’s hand is placed on the video footage.

There is no conclusive video, or verbal evidence, that clearly outweighs the other in this instance.  The video evidence suggests doubt as to why the horse has reacted. In the best interests of the Racing Industry, the connections of the horse, and the betting public, Curve has been denied a fair start and declared a non starter.


The Committee rules that Curve is declared a non starter.

Decision Date: 24/09/2021

Publish Date: 27/09/2021