The National Horseracing Authority has confirmed that an investigation has been opened into the Greyville third race on Friday evening that was declared null and void after jockeys failed to react to a false start signal.
NHA Racing Control Executive Arnold Hyde responded to questions put to him on Saturday by the Sporting Post, after punters and other stakeholders reacted with outrage to a forgettable incident that was seen as a poor reflection on horseracing.
Confirming our suggestion that the occurrence was ‘unsatisfactory and unacceptable’, Mr Hyde said that after the number of similar episodes last year, the Racing Operators were advised to ensure that the equipment that is used to signal a false start be reviewed and improved upon. He added that this equipment is provided by the Operators.
He confirmed that Gold Circle had installed the ‘Marine Siren’ that can be heard up to a radius of 500m. This siren was installed on the Starting Stalls, thereby eliminating manual movement of the siren.
“A cable links the stalls to the Starter’s rostrum. The Starter has a small box with two switches, one to start the race and one to activate the siren. This siren has been used to hasten the Riders to the start to ensure that they were familiar with the sound of the siren. I was informed that the riders were satisfied with the recall system,” he said.
He gave the assurance that any frailties in this system will be reviewed and corrected.
In response to our query regarding the absence of the flagman of bygone years, Hyde confirmed that the use of the flagman was stopped a number of years ago due to a number of issues.
“It stands to reason that if the siren is loud enough and is activated at the appropriate time, then there should not be a need for a flagman,” he said.
The race was run in driving rain.