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Distinction between foul riding and dangerous riding

  February 10 , 2024

A recent incident at the Bangalore Turf Club has sparked debate over the definitions and severity of foul riding versus dangerous riding, as two jockeys faced differing punishments for different infractions. The Stipendiary Stewards charged Anthony Raj and Saqlain with foul riding but the Stewards later reclassified the offence as dangerous riding surprisingly resulting in lighter penalties.

According to the official explanation, foul riding involves actions such as elbowing out a horse, which can potentially endanger the rider and others on the track. In contrast, dangerous riding is described as interference without severe consequences. However, this explanation has raised eyebrows within the racing community, as dangerous riding is conventionally perceived as the more serious offence due to its potential for causing harm.

Critics have pointed out that the Bangalore Turf Club Stewards` decision appears to lack consistency and fails to address the gravity of dangerous riding. The stewards` handling of the situation has drawn criticism for what some perceive as a lack of thorough consideration and understanding of the nuances involved.

In horse racing, foul riding pertains to actions that violate the sport`s regulations, often disrupting fair competition without directly endangering participants or horses. Examples include obstructing paths or impeding progress, which can lead to penalties or disqualification. Conversely, dangerous riding involves behaviours that pose significant risks to safety, such as reckless whipping or taking hazardous routes through obstacles. Due to the potential for severe injuries or accidents, dangerous riding is treated with utmost seriousness and may result in harsh penalties, including suspensions or expulsion from competitions.

As discussions continue regarding the definitions and consequences of foul riding and dangerous riding, it becomes increasingly evident that a clear understanding of these distinctions is vital for maintaining safety and fairness in equestrian sports.

In race number 96 of the Bangalore Winter Racing event, jockey Saqlain`s maneuver drew attention as he closed the gap, preventing Auspicious Queen who was coming from behind from taking the path which looked open. Despite the horse being well ahead, stewards deemed Saqlain`s action as deliberately impeding Auspicious Queen`s path, resulting in the disqualification of the winner, Shabelle. Saqlain was penalized for dangerous riding and received a three-day suspension. Critics argue that Saqlain`s actions better fit the definition of foul riding, a less severe offence. The decision effectively equated Saqlain`s punishment with Anthony Raj, who was guilty of dangerous riding in a previous race.

In race number 95 of the Bangalore Winter Racing, jockey Anthony Raj`s actions on Ricardo prompted scrutiny. Immediately after leaving the gates, Raj failed to maintain a straight course and shifted inward, causing jockey Vivek G on favourite In Thy Light to stumble and fall. This action was deemed dangerous as it posed a significant risk of injury to both horse and rider. While stewards correctly labelled Raj`s actions as dangerous, critics argue that they failed to distinguish between foul and dangerous riding. The latter, by its nature, implies a more serious offence with potentially severe consequences.

Criticism has been directed at the stewards in Bangalore, with accusations that they tend to penalize professionals without a thorough grasp of the subject matter, thus failing to comprehend the full ramifications of their decisions.

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