Thoroughbred – Stewards’ Inquiry – BRAVO ROMEO – Belmont, Saturday 13 June 2015 – Race 7 TABTOUCH-Home of Racing & Sport Handicap (2000m).

Stewards yesterday completed the adjourned inquiry into Jockey Jason Whiting’s handling of BRAVO ROMEO from the 400m in the above race. This matter was adjourned after taking initial evidence from Mr Whiting following the race to allow Stewards to complete a thorough betting analysis on the race.

Further evidence was taken from Mr Whiting and the Trainer of BRAVO ROMEO, Ms Paula Wagg. Mr Whiting was specifically questioned in relation to the reason for him remaining behind FRIARPAK (Jarrad Noske) for some distance approaching the 250m before shifting to the inside of that gelding.

Mr Whiting stated that he was following RAISING DUBAI (Peter Hall) through the early and middle stages and when that gelding was taken outwards near the 600m he urged BRAVO ROMEO forward to improve his position and passing the 400m became held up when making ground onto the heels of FRIARPAK (Jarrad Noske) with PASEO DEL PRADO (Joseph Azzopardi) being positioned forward and to the inside of his mount.

He explained that at this stage he was considering improving to the outside but was unable to achieve this as BRAVO ROMEO was close to the heels of FRIARPAK and RAISING DUBAI was immediately to his outside and as it was unable to progress forward he then elected to ride his mount along to build momentum before shifting to the inside of FRIARPAK and to the outside of PASEO DEL PRADO near the 250m.

He added that shortly after achieving this his mount became crowded for racing room when FRIARPAK shifted ground inwards slightly causing him to become held up for a short distance with a clear run then eventuating several strides later, however BRAVO ROMEO was again held up for clear running when improving onto the heels of SAXON SAXOFF (Jerry Noske) over the final 75m.

Ms Wagg advised that BRAVO ROMEO was ridden to instructions when settling back in the field and after viewing replays of the various camera angles was of the view that BRAVO ROMEO became held up for clear running at various stages in the straight and added that she had expected the gelding to perform well and that the connections had supported it accordingly.

The betting analysis revealed that BRAVO ROMEO drifted from $10 to $12 with on course bookmakers and approximately $9 to $14 in off course markets. Betting with the Western Australian TAB showed that there was steady support for BRAVO ROMEO and it eased slightly in the market from $12.90 to $14.20.

It was established on the day by RWWA Betting Supervisor, Mr Gerald Croll that a Betfair account holder took a position against BRAVO ROMEO to finish in the first three placegetters.

Upon contacting and requesting further information from Betfair in relation to this account, it was identified as belonging to a person based in the United Kingdom and that the betting position taken was within the normal parameters for that particular account.

A further account was identified as winning on this race, however it was found to be that of a corporate bookmaker based in Queensland and the profit was generated by supporting the winner of the race, SAVANAROLA with no lay bets made against BRAVO ROMEO and it was therefore concluded that this activity was attributable to reducing the overall liability for SAVANAROLA.

It was also established that the connections had supported BRAVO ROMEO to a considerable extent to win the race.

After considering the explanation put forward by Mr Whiting and reviewing the race replay, Stewards were of the opinion that Mr Whiting had erred in delaying his decision to shift to the inside of FRIARPAK near the 250m as a run had presented a number of strides earlier and that he should have assessed this opportunity and taken that option more quickly than he did, however in all of the circumstances did not believe that his error was at a level to attract the provisions of AR.135(b) which deals with a rider taking all reasonable and permissible measures throughout a race to ensure his mount is given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible place in the field.

Mr Whiting was told that his riding of BRAVO ROMEO approaching the 250m left him open to questioning by the Stewards and that as a senior and experienced rider he is expected to demonstrate greater initiative and purpose and improve his position and take a run between other horses when they present or further action may be taken against him.

Brad Lewis
Chief Steward Thoroughbreds