RWWA Stewards today completed the adjourned inquiry into the reason for TIGER PETE (S. McGruddy) being ridden on the pace in Race 5, the McKenna Hampton Handicap over 1300m at Belmont Racecourse on Saturday, 11 August 2012.
Further evidence was taken from Jockey Shaun McGruddy and the Trainer of TIGER PETE, Mr Steve Wolfe.
Mr McGruddy explained that at its previous start at Belmont on Saturday, 28 July 2012 he allowed TIGER PETE to settle at the rear of the field as it was commencing from barrier 14 in a capacity field and was stepping up in class and racing out of its own age ground and also that a number of runners drawn to his inside had previously displayed early pace and was conscious of the likelihood of being forced to race wide without cover and therefore having to work hard in these circumstances if ridden forward. He further explained that this decision was influenced by the performance of TIGER PETE on Saturday, 16 June 2012 over 1200m where he allowed the gelding to stride forward from a wide barrier to race on the pace with no cover and it had consequently tired over the final 200m of that event. Due to all of these factors he believed his best option was to settle TIGER PETE in a rearward position on Saturday, 28 July 2012 where it would then be able to finish the race strongly.
Mr McGruddy also explained that his pre-race assessment of the race field on Saturday, 11 August 2012 was that there was an apparent lack of early pace and because of this, INOK (S. Parnham) would be able to lead the event unchallenged and he was concerned that INOK would receive little pressure throughout the race and by being positioned towards the rear of the field in a race devoid of pace would have been detrimental to his chances of winning or obtaining the best possible finishing position. He advised that because of all of these factors he decided to ride TIGER PETE in a positive manner in this race from the start and attempt to obtain cover which he was able to achieve after INOK lead as he expected and SHADY BET (B. Parnham) went forward to race to its outside.
Mr Wolfe explained that he issues no firm instructions to Mr McGruddy as he believes riding tactics are best left to the discretion of his riders, particularly senior and leading jockeys. He stated that TIGER PETE has been best suited in previous starts when able to obtain cover and that it would be ridden in this manner where possible in the future. After viewing the replay of the race on Saturday, 28 July 2012, he agreed with the remarks of Mr McGruddy in regard to his assessment of the race and the reasons for TIGER PETE racing back in the field on that occasion. Mr Wolfe also stated that connections had supported TIGER PETE in both races which was confirmed by the Stewards. It was also established by Stewards that no betting irregularities were apparent in either race.
After considering the explanations tendered, and reviewing all previous performances of TIGER PETE, Stewards took no action other than to remind Mr Wolfe of his obligations to inform Stewards as early as practicable of any future change to riding tactics so that such information can be disseminated accordingly.
Brad Lewis – Chief Steward Thoroughbred
Ph: 9445 5420