herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Harsh for Gleneagles but rules are rules

The French rules of racing earned plenty of column inches again after last weekend, especially the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Sunday.

There is no doubt about it that Gleneagles (pictured) was the best horse in the race but the rules are the rules.

Once the horse started to drift after Joseph O'Brien gave him a slap with the stick in his left hand he should have corrected him before he gave him the second.

After he gave him the second slap, the damage was done and the reality in France is that when you affect a horse's placing you have to go behind that horse.

And that is what happened - Gleneagles was placed behind the Godolphin colt Territories and Full Mast was given the race. By some accounts, I'm led to believe that there was a relatively young group of stewards on the panel that day and I'm sure they were keen to go by the letter of the law and that is what they did do.

It's hard but that is the way it is in France and there is a lot to be said for those rules - there can be no grey area.

It is harsh when it hits you but you know what is going to happen. In fairness to Joseph, it can be the heat of the battle at times and on Saturday we saw Cirrus Des Aigles lose the Prix Dollar and Christophe Soumillon was the man onboard. Sometimes you probably just take the chance thinking you are going to get away with it.

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