The regulations governing horse racing are explicit. Only horses entered at the handicap stage are eligible to participate in a race. While trainers have the choice to withdraw their horses from competition, some clubs now mandate that all entries must stand, unless the horse is entered in multiple races. This precaution is aimed at preventing races from being declared void due to a shortage of participants. Frequently, trainers opt to withdraw their horses if they spot a horse whom they consider invincible unless they`ve entered them to gain an outing.
While this rule has its advantages, it also places owners and trainers at a disadvantage. Trainers typically strategize to enter their horses in races where they believe their charges have the best chance of winning. However, this planning can go awry if they are compelled to enter horses in races where victory or placement is exceedingly challenging. Racing exerts a toll on the horse, and the recovery period may result in injuries or a higher handicap for horses forced to compete, especially if they finish within the top four.
This regulation restricts the trainer`s ability to optimize their horses` racing strategies. However, the Bangalore Turf Club appears to be introducing an unprecedented trend. They have permitted the replacement of one horse with another in a race. If there is a shortage of runners, and the race is at risk of the race being declared void due to insufficient participants, most clubs typically re-advertise the race and solicit new entries. It`s uncommon to witness a scenario where an initially entered horse is scratched, and another horse takes its place.
The question arises: will this unconventional practice by the Bangalore Turf Club set a precedent? If the club believes that rules are subject to interpretation and can be disregarded at will, it could undermine the integrity of the entire system. The origin of this situation is unclear, but it may potentially lead to questionable practices.
For the record, trainer Sulaiman Attaollahi had entered a horse named Del Aviz in the handicaps of Srikishan Srivastava Memorial Million, a race meant for two-year-olds. However, in the acceptances, one sees another horse from his stable, Il Volo which was not an entry at all is entered to run while the original entry has been scratched. The race should have been made void due to the paucity of entries. The same race could have been reframed with a modified title with fresh entries. This would have been the right thing to do. When the club says that it is a stickler for rules, the integrity of the rules and the way it is acted upon by the Stewards comes into scrutiny.