Sport

Weight loss hurts punters

Patrick Bartley
Underweight: Jye McNeil.
Underweight: Jye McNeil. Photo: Pat Scala

The long-held premise that if you can't win you shouldn't lose, came back to haunt punters at Sandown on Wednesday.

Minutes after Tigidig Tigidig successfully scored in the Ladbroke's handicap, a set of electronic scales showed the horse had carried 0.6 kilograms less than his allotted weight (with apprentice Jye McNeil's claim of 1.5kgs) of 59kgs.

Under the rules of racing, a discretionary figure of 0.5 kg is allowed for such an occurrence.

But at Sandown, McNeil was 0.1kg – or 100 grams – outside the specified ruling.

McNeil was weighed 30 minutes before the race, but on returning after the victory 0.6 kg had disappeared.

Stewards disqualified Tigidig Tigidig from the race, promoting Foreign Affair as the winner.

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However, the dilemma is that punters who had supported Tigidig Tigidig at no stage were in the position to win.

Instead of the horse being deemed a non-starter and bets refunded, punters lost out.

Last year at a stewards conference, senior Victoria steward Terry Bailey put forward a submission that the rule of disqualification over a horse that has weighed in light should be changed to a non-starter so punters have their wagers refunded.

Bailey's line of thought was that punters were at no stage in a position to win and because of negligence by a jockey and trainer they too bore the brunt.

After a heated battle the submission was sent to the Australian Racing Board but was subsequently voted down.

The board said at the time that such events were rare and that other runners in the race would financially suffer because of deductions being declared for the non-starter.