Stewards explain Seattle verdict

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 January, 1998, 12:00am

In the wake of heavy criticism and in advance of a special media meeting tomorrow, Jockey Club chief stipendiary steward Clinton P. Pitts Jnr yesterday released additional information relating to the Seattle Sun controversy.

Pitts and his panel are due to meet the media before racing at Happy Valley tomorrow to explain their decision to suspend the horse and take no action against trainer Wylie Wong and jockey Jason Weaver after a race at the city track on January 21.

The inquiry lasted almost 90 minutes and concluded after midnight with just six lines going into the official report.

Yesterday's addition to the report ran to two pages.

It stated that Seattle Sun had jumped awkwardly and became unbalanced, losing ground. Weaver then stated that prior to the start the horse had been edgy and raced greenly until the 1,000-metre turn.

When Seattle Sun began to race too keenly, he steadied him behind the eventual winner Lucky Lord to avoid kick-back from the inadequate Happy Valley surface.

According to the report, Weaver then failed to respond and became unbalanced in loose ground. In the crucial final 50 metres - which has been the focus of most media attention - Weaver is reported to have said that the horse raced greenly, hung in and only ran on awkwardly before tiring over the final 50 metres under hands and heels riding. Weaver stated he hit the horse four times with the whip.

The final paragraph states that the stewards decided to bar the horse's entry for 30 days because this would deter trainers from running horses which have not been properly prepared and is, in effect, a form of penalty to the trainer.

Earlier, the trainer had told the stewards that he had elected to run the horse at Happy Valley without the horse trialling there because the owner wanted him to start before the Lunar New Year as he would be out of town.

There seems certain to be more questions arising out of this additional report when the meeting is held tomorrow.


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Stewards explain Seattle verdict

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