THE Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has apologised to the connections of Rosscarbery over the necessary disqualification of Rosscarbery from third place in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in June.
Rosscarbery was disqualifed after jockey Wayne Lordan weighed in almost 5lb light afterwards. Reports at the time suggested that Lordan had been told by clerk of the scales before the race that he was 5lb too heavy and weights had to be removed from the saddle. Lordan reportedly weighed out a second time before the race and was told he had the correct weight.
Connections subsequently lodged an appeal against the decision.
On Friday morning the IHRB published a statement to say that the appeal had been withdrawn, suggesting a settlement had been reached.
"The IHRB has established that the disqualification of Rosscarbery from the race resulted from an error in the weigh out process which it accepts was not the fault of the Owner, the Trainer or the Rider, Mr. Wayne Lordan," the statement read. "The IHRB very much regrets the incident and unreservedly apologises to Mr. Moran, Mr. Twomey and Mr. Lordan.
According to the IHRB, an independent technical investigation of the Curragh weighing scales indicated that the display unit attached to the scales was in an "unlocked" mode when Lordan weighed out, which meant that the usual 4lb safety allowance for jockeys was not taken into account. That error prompted the clerk of the scales to tell Lordan to remove approximately 4lb from his saddle prior to the race.
Because Lordan was the final jockey to weigh out for the race, there was no chance for the error to reoccur with another jockey weighing out for the same race, which would have set alarm bells ringing.
The statement said that the clerk of the scales, nor any other IHRB official, would have been aware that the display unit had an "unlocked" mode, and no blame has been apportioned to anyone for the error.
"The IHRB has conducted a full review of the scales systems at each Irish racecourse and steps have been taken to confirm that all [display] units are in ‘locked’ mode at all racecourses in order to ensure that a repeat of this incident will not occur again in the future," the statement concludes.
Just 10 days after the Curragh race, Rosscarbery won a Group 3 race at Leopardstown and she subsequently gained a valid Group 1 placing at Deauville in August. The four-year-old by Sea The Stars is due to be sold at Newmarket on November 29th.
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE IHRB PRESS RELEASE
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) confirms that Mr. Robert Moran, Owner, and Mr. Patrick Twomey, Trainer, have today withdrawn their appeal in respect of the decision of the Stewards at The Curragh on 26th June 2022 to disqualify Rosscarbery (GER) from the Group 1 Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes.
The IHRB has established that the disqualification of Rosscarbery from the race resulted from an error in the weigh out process which it accepts was not the fault of the Owner, the Trainer or the Rider, Mr. Wayne Lordan. The IHRB very much regrets the incident and unreservedly apologises to Mr. Moran, Mr. Twomey and Mr. Lordan.
Following the finish of the race in question, the Stewards received a report from the IHRB Clerk of the Scales that Wayne Lordan, rider of Rosscarbery, who had placed third, had weighed in almost 5lbs light. Having considered the evidence on the day, the Stewards disqualified Rosscarbery from third place in accordance with the provisions of Rule 231(i) in that he weighed in at more than 1lb light. They also referred the matter to the Chief Executive Officer of the IHRB for further investigation.
The IHRB immediately began an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the weighing-out and weighing-in of the rider of Rosscarbery on the day. On Monday, 27th June 2022, the IHRB appointed Grant Thornton to carry out an independent expert technical investigation while also carrying out an internal review of IHRB systems, processes and procedures for the weighing-out and weighing-in of riders.
On 6th September 2022, following a thorough forensic investigation, Grant Thornton issued the IHRB with their report and findings, which the IHRB shared with Mr. Moran’s and Mr. Twomey’s representatives.
In their report, Grant Thornton determined that the incident at The Curragh on 26th June 2022 was a ‘Cascade Event’. Their conclusions are summarised below:
- Several failures had to occur for the rider of the 3rd place horse, Mr. Lordan, to be weighed in as 4.5lbs light.
- In normal operation, the Dini Argeo unit (display unit linked to scales) applies a 4lb allowance (tare) to account for the weight of the rider’s safety allowance. However, in this instance the Dini Argeo unit in the Curragh appeared to have been in an ‘unlocked’ mode, allowing it to apply an incorrect 0lb allowance for Mr. Lordan on this occasion.
- When operating correctly, the system ensures that, when the Clerk of the Scales clicks on the application to record the weight, the correct weight is recorded by the system following the correct allowance having been applied
- However, the investigation found that, for technical reasons, on this occasion an incorrect 0lb allowance was applied.
- The Clerk of the Scales would not have been aware such a situation was possible
- The Clerk of the Scales application displayed that Mr. Lordan weighed out at 138.1lb.
- However, the data recorded from the Dini Argeo unit showed that, in reality, Mr. Lordan should have displayed as weighing out at 134.1lbs, had the 4lb allowance been applied, equivalent to every other rider in the race.
- On weighing-in, when Mr. Lordan stepped up on the scales and with the 4lb allowance applied, the Clerk of the Scales application displayed him weighing in at 133.5lb
The IHRB has conducted a full review of the scales systems at each Irish racecourse and steps have been taken to confirm that all Dini Argeo Units are in ‘locked’ mode at all racecourses in order to ensure that a repeat of this incident will not occur again in the future.
Explanation of IHRB Computerised Scales System.
A bespoke computerised scales system was introduced in all Irish racecourses in June 2019. It provides the Clerk of the Scales with all information on trainers, riders, horses and races to enable them to carry out their functions under the Rules of Racing. It electronically records all data relevant to the weighing-out and weighing-in of riders, and all associated information necessary for the proper administration of racing following a racemeeting e.g. Overweights, colour changes, race results & distances, off-times, ‘winner alright’ times and any documentation signed by riders. All this data is uploaded and stored on a server and an electronic file is sent back to the Offices of the IHRB following every racemeeting so the necessary administration can take place.
The Clerk of the Scales brings a laptop containing all necessary information to the races. They connect the laptop to a weight indicator known as a ‘Dini Argeo unit’ which is connected to the weighing plate. They also connect the laptop to a Display Screen which displays information on riders required to weigh-out or weigh-in.
On selecting a rider to weigh-out or weigh-in, the system sends an instruction to the Dini Argeo Unit to start with tare value 4.0lb. This, in effect, sets the scales to -4lb.
This tare of 4lb is to reflect the ‘Safety Allowance’ each rider receives for wearing a body protector. This Safety Allowance was increased from 3lb to 4lb in May 2022. Since this allowance can vary over time, the system was designed that the allowance would be set as a tare value.
If the Dini Argeo Unit was in ‘locked’ mode, once the Clerk of the Scales selected a rider to weigh out, it would set the scales to -4lb and regardless of any activity on the scales, it would keep resettling to -4lb if the rider stepped off the plate and back on again until the Clerk of the Scales was satisfied with the weight being displayed and recorded the weight.
The Grant Thornton investigation shows that on this occasion, Mr. Lordan presented himself initially to weigh out at 2lb overweight. Because the Dini Argeo Unit was in ‘unlocked’ mode, once he stepped off the scales to remove some lead, instead of resetting to -4lb, it reset to 0. Therefore, the weight being displayed thereafter to the Clerk of the Scales and the Rider was out by 4lb – and the rider was ultimately weighed out 4lb light.
If the process happened to be cancelled and the rider selected to weigh out again, it would have been reset to -4lb as normal. This would often happen if there was another rider waiting to weigh out or if a rider needed to get more weight from his valet rather than just remove pieces of lead. However, because Mr. Lordan was the last rider in that race to weigh out, and had just to remove lead to draw the correct weight, the weighing process remained open and the system reset to 0 once he stepped off the scales.
The IHRB and the Clerk of the Scales were unaware that there were ‘locked’ and ‘unlocked’ modes on the Dini Argeo Unit and are satisfied nobody from the IHRB would have had the technical knowledge to change the mode knowingly.