ITV Racing's Ed Chamberlin offers his views on the dangers of introducing disqualification as a punishment for whip rule infringements in his latest column.
Disqualification would be a disaster
Fair play to Charlie Fellowes for writing what he did in the Racing Post after his Thanks Be won at Royal Ascot. If you didn’t see it, he basically said that he felt his filly should’ve been disqualified from that race after jockey Hayley Turner broke the whip rules. Instead she was fined £1,600 and suspended for nine days.
Charlie argued that a sterner punishment would stop the crime from being committed in the first place and I think it’s great for a young trainer like that to put his head above the parapet, largely because of his honesty.
Gary Neville always said the key thing in talking about sport is honesty, and for Charlie to say he thought his horse should be disqualified was honest, so good on him.
I like what Charlie does on social media, he’s prepared to engage with people and use Instagram to show people about his horses and so on, but he’s also got this podcast going with George Scott and he asked me on it.
Obviously I was happy to do so and on it we had this debate about disqualification. I can see where Charlie’s coming from and I agree with a lot of what he said in his article, because at the moment it seems as though the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
And I thought Hayley Turner on Thursday on ITV spoke a lot of sense when I asked her difficult questions, one of which was ‘what punishment would’ve deterred you from going over the limit?’
She said ‘a ban of any length’ which I think is the answer. Disqualification isn’t the answer, for a number of reasons, firstly the punting angle which has been well documented this week and I agree with, but secondly from a television point of view.
I can come at it very differently having worked in football for a very long time. I presented Monday Night Football and Super Sunday for six years and barely a match went by where we didn’t have to analyse in detail a tackle, a yellow card or in particular a red card.
A lot of that is speculating whether there should’ve been a red card and disqualification in horse racing I’m afraid would be just like that in television terms. We would have a duty to speculate about whether a horse should be disqualified and we’d have to look at it umpteen times analysing how many times a horse has been struck.
Can you think of worse PR for a sport than that? A magnifying glass on the whip to see if they missed or hit, how many times they were hit, we’d be counting, someone in the ITV truck would be having to count how many times and we’d have to analyse it as throwing a horse out of a race would have huge implications.
So from a PR and television perspective, disqualification, whilst I agree it’s a severe punishment, it would be a disaster for the sport and it just cannot happen.
The punishment should fit the crime. If you offend in a Group One race you then miss a series of Group One races. That could be the answer and you’d stamp it out very quickly.
Charlie Fellowes is right, whip infringements would stamp out quickly if the severity of the punishment is enough, but, disqualification, television-wise and PR-wise is not the answer.
The July Festival is perfectly positioned between Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood and it’s just got the most beautiful vibe.
I do encourage you to come to the July meeting at Newmarket one year if you’ve never been. If you can’t enjoy the July Festival atmosphere you won’t enjoy any race meeting anywhere.
It’s got everything, it’s got fashion, fun, colour in a very relaxed garden party atmosphere, it just has a lovely feel about it, the music I love and everyone just seems to have a good time here it’s great.
As for the racing we had Spanish Mission win on day one for one of the nicest guys in racing in David Simcock, while it was disappointing Masar couldn’t throw his hat into the King George ring – we don’t want a cakewalk for Enable.
Hopefully Communique will be there and he showed again in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes that he should never be underestimated.
On the Friday we had Veracious land the Group One Falmouth Stakes under a terrific front-running ride from Oisin Murphy, while the remarkable King’s Advice, again for the Mark Johnston team, won his seventh race of the year in the bet365 Trophy, putting himself firmly in the picture for the £1million Sky Bet Ebor.
I’m heading for a lie down.
That was one of the most intense days of the year as it’s a bit like the British Grand Prix in many ways – fast and furious from the off.
We had 10 live races, three different tracks, stories galore and the best thing about it was having the gap to the July Cup and being able to give that race the full ITV treatment on an extraordinary day.
Some people think it’s madness having so many good races in one day but I think it’s great, a great advert for the sport at an epic time of year with Wimbledon, the Cricket World Cup Final, the Tour de France in full swing and so on.
Racing has held its own on that stage which is great. I always say don’t take terrestrial TV for granted, but for racing to be on ITV1 with all this top sport going on just shows where racing stands - which is right at the top table.
And that comment also applies to the Darley July Cup winner Ten Sovereigns who was scintillating in the feature for Aidan O'Brien.
He was at his brilliant best today, the fast ground clearly playing to his strengths, and he looks a mighty player in the sprint division now - especially when he gets his conditions.
Tragic end for Beat The Bank
In the end it was a terrible day for King Power Racing, as their flagbearer Beat The Bank suffered a fatal injury in the Summer Mile at Ascot.
Having won the Superlative Stakes with Mystery Power and then the John Smith's Cup with Pivoine, it looked like a day of days for them when Beat The Bank showed sheer bravery and guts to get back up and win the Summer Mile having been headed in the run for the line.
What a warrior he was. Unfortunately he was sharply pulled up by Silvestre de Sousa straight afterwards and then had to be put to sleep after suffering what was described as 'a complicated fracture of his lower near-hind limb'.
Such sad news for owners who had enjoyed such a great day. The creation of the late Leicester City chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who tragically died in a helicopter crash last year, King Power Racing have been enjoying the foundation he laid with so many high profile purchases.
Beat The Bank was the first one, the first Group winner. Our thoughts are with his trainer Andrew Balding, all the team at Kingsclere and the owners who adored this horse. He was a star.