Trainer Jim Boyle is upset that the Kempton starter withdrew his horse Atlantis Crossing from a race on Saturday after rearing up in the starting stalls. The consequence of that action is that the horse will not be able to race for the next six months, at which time he will have to undertake a stalls test.
It was the third time in the space of 12 months that the horse has given problems in the stalls, and that triggers an automatic ban. What has angered Boyle is that he says his horse, which was last to be loaded, on became upset when Nazreef, two stalls away, also reared up. Yet Nazreef was allowed to race.
Boyle explained that because of the previous problems, Atlantis Crossing is regularly last to be loaded. The trainer said that had helped, and in his last nine races over the winter there had been no problems. Of this incident he said, “What caused it on Saturday was Nazreef rearing up, and rearing up pretty markedly as we went in, at least as severely as us. The starter told me he thought he saw our horse get his leg over the side and didn’t think Nazreef did, which is why he withdrew us and not Nazreef.”
On advice Boyle is not going to appeal the decision, but he is to ask the National Trainers’ Federation to raise the rule under which Atlantis Crossing was banned with the British Horseracing Authority. He says it is too inflexible. He said, “The stewards could see what happened but said they were shackled by the rules. What’s the point of having an enquiry to look at the evidence if you’re not going to be able to use any discretion to affect the decision that’s then made?”
He does have the option of sending the horse to race abroad, and if he were to do that, and no problems occurred at the start, he could then apply for the outstanding period ban on a stalls test to be lifted. Boyle didn’t plan to take that route for the time being, saying, “I’m going to give him a break now and see if there is anything within four or five months that I think is worth targeting abroad. If not we’ll just have to bring him back for another winter campaign.”