In an Oxford Mail interview concentrating mostly on the point-to-point interests of the Waley-Cohens, Robert Waley-Cohen commented on son Sam’s Aintree ‘offence’ Having fallen from Turko in the Fox Hunters’ Chase, Sam was among four jockeys who were handed suspensions for remounting and returning to the unsaddling area without their horses being examined by a racecourse vet.
Robert said, “I thought it defied commonsense,” he says. “At Aintree the distances are huge and I am glad to say in point-to-points riders are allowed to self-certify and remount their horses and ride back to the paddock.”
I commented on this blog and on twitter at the time the ban was announced that it seemed trivial, and, more importantly, inconsistent.
Had the incident involved the same four jockeys and horses but had taken place at a point-to-point, there would have been no offence and no punishment. The BHA regulates both codes and it is silly inconsistencies like this which help prevent racing from presenting itself to potential customers as a fair and sensibly regulated sport.
If you can’t get the small things right, what chance have you with the Grand Nationals?
At the time of the bans, I had a lengthy debate with the BHA’s head of communications, Paul Struthers, asking him the question ‘Is the welfare of horses in point-to-points less important than those running at Aintree?”
I am still awaiting an answer.
UPDATE: Paul Struthers contacted me on twitter after redaing thsi and here is his verbatim response:
I really don’t recall an extensive conversation on that topic. If we have had one I’m sorry but I just don’t remember it. You certainly asked if I’d respond to some of the post-Aintree blogs but I’ve simply not had time I’m afraid, there’s just been too much on. As for RWCs quote, I very much disagree. And we do not regulate PTP in the same way as racing at all. We very much believe that the same rule should apply but the Point to Point Authority doesn’t currently agree. As for Aintree incident, what is so hard about waiting for a couple of minutes, having caught your horse, for the vet to clear the horse as fit to be hacked back?
You can follow me on twitter here