What Is Wrong With Team Tactics?

So the BHA in their wisdom have fined trainer Aiden O’Brien £5,000 and have given jockeys Johnny Murtagh and Colm O’Donoghue seven day bans for breaking the rules on team tactics.

Just as it looked as though the BHA was starting to put their house in order and seem to be distancing themselves from the bumbling incompetence that was the Jockey Club, they come up with this decision.

I am not disputing the rule on team tactics was broken, lets face it O’Donoghue pleaded guilty to the charge. What is so farcical is that such a rule is in the rulebook at all.

It is not necessary.

If an outfit wishes to run more than one runner and adopt tactics that help one of their runners to win, then so be it, as long as no other rules of racing are broken in the process.

If the authorities really are so keen to stop team tactics then why not ban the use of pacemakers - is running a pacemaker not a team tactic?

Provided each runner runs to its merit and to its ability. Provided no interference is caused to other riders. Provided no other rules are broken. Then what is the problem?

If the "team tactics" break any of the other rules (and lets face it the rulebook extends to 501 pages) then use those rules to deal with the matter and punish the offenders accordingly.

So if in moving from the rail to allow another team member through, another horse is interfered with then punish the offending rider under one of the existing rules.

If, in moving over, no interference takes place then what is the problem?

In the race in question no other runner was interfered with. No other runner was disadvantaged. The winner won on merit.

Most of the opposition to what the Ballydoyle team did has been pocket talk from punters who are looking for an “excuse” for backing yet another loser.

In some of the forums people are crowing that Ballydoyle and Coolmore have had their comeuppance. To me this stinks of the politics of envy. That grand British trait to knock anything that is successful, the insidious politics of envy.   

The BHA have made great strides to improve the image of racing, they can take an even bigger stride in abolishing Rule 153 (iv) which, in itself, does more to bring racing into disrepute than the events at Newmarket in August.


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