We don’t often talk about sex on the Geegeez site, and my apologies if you don’t think we should ever do so, or if it’s too early in the day for you to think about the subject. For once, though, I think the subject has to be broached. It has come to light that a racehorse that won two races, one of them a maiden fillies event, has turned out to be “essentially genetically male.”
That peculiar phrase appears in an amendment to the rules of racing after a vet examined the horse in question as it was being prepared for a career as a brood mare. The British Horseracing Authority was not releasing any details about the horse, trainer or race involved, but the Racing Post suggested it had run as a two year old during 2011.
The extraordinary case came to light in the latest newsletter sent to members of the National Trainers’ Federation, under the heading “Horses of ambiguous sex.”
It reads: “The BHA has added a requirement to Rules (C)17A and (E)87 that if an owner or a trainer of a horse is aware that its visible sexual characteristics are contradicted by its genetic makeup/internal organs he must notify the Racing Calendar Office. The reason for this addition is that a trainer had a filly who won a couple of races and was sold to breed subject to a veterinary examination. However, on veterinary examination the horse was found to be essentially genetically male and the sale fell through.”
The trainer did notify the authorities, asking what races the horse was able to run in. There is no ban on the horse racing, but the BHA has limited it to handicaps not confined to fillies and stakes races where there is no weight allowance for fillies.
Speaking for the BHA, Robin Mounsey said the horse would not lose the maiden fillies race it had won. He said, “The incident did not come to light until more than a year after the races the horse won, so the time for any objections is long past. This, coupled with the fact that the mistake was made entirely unknowingly, means there is not seen to be any reason to look at a disqualification.”