sport

Aintree start set to be investigated

The BHA have confirmed that they will hold an enquiry into the start of this year's Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree.

The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) are set to examine whether the 39 riders that took part in the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree were in breach of Rule (D)44.4 of the Rules of Racing, in that they "attempted to line up and/or take a position for the start before being instructed to do so by the Starter."

The Stewards' enquiry was unable to be completed on the day and the Stewards therefore referred the matter to BHA.

All 39 riders have been informed and provided with evidence and details relating to the charge at a future date, though they have been instructed that it is not necessary for them all to attend the hearing.

BHA also considered events which took place after the race. On the day, having taken initial evidence from the riders and the starting team, the Stewards adjourned the enquiry to consider the matter and then in attempting to re-convene the enquiry the riders who had not been given permission to leave the course did not return to the Stewards' room.

After reviewing all available evidence and statements, BHA is not pursuing any disciplinary action in respect of the riders' failure to conclude the Stewards' enquiry on the day.

Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation for BHA, said: "Managing the start of the Grand National and dealing with any incidents that occur during this process presents a unique challenge.

"After reviewing all the available evidence we have taken the decision not to pursue any charges relating to the fact that we were unable to complete the Stewards' enquiry on the day. This is also a reflection of the scale of the challenge in conducting an enquiry in such circumstances.

"Instead, we would like to put in place a protocol, to be developed in conjunction with the jockeys, for managing such situations where a large numbers of riders are involved.

"Having reviewed all of the available evidence and footage into the incident prior to the start of the Grand National it is the view of BHA that 39 of the 40 riders in the race attempted to line up or take a position before being instructed to do so, which was before the off time of the race. If the Disciplinary Panel finds that this is the case then this would constitute an offence under the Rules of Racing.

"It is also BHA's view that the riders then moved forward towards the start and in the process knocked down the Assistant Starter, who was positioned in front of the field, advising the riders not to line up. This will also be considered by the Disciplinary Panel.

"This all occurred after riders in the Grand National had been briefed in advance of the race about conduct at the start, which emphasised the obligation under the Rules for the riders to obey the Starter's instructions.

"The Disciplinary Panel will now determine whether any of the riders in question are in breach of the Rules of Racing."