Marked difference in tale of two sets of stewards
Events on either side of the racing world on the weekend were one of those frequent little reminders of how differently stewards go about their jobs in different places.
In the Czech Republic, the rider of the Czech Derby winner Roches Cross (ironically by a sire called Whipper) was fined around HK$448 after breaking the rules and overusing the persuader in getting him across the line first.
On the other hand, visiting English-based jockey Jimmy Quinn was fined double that amount after failing to fulfil his two-ride engagement at the meeting.
Quinn's flimsy excuse was that, after not one but two falls last week, he was sporting a fractured wrist and elbow, three ribs and his coccyx.
Apparently that didn't cut much ice with the stewards, rumoured to have done their early training in the Cold War years with the Czech secret police, the StB, so we wondered what they would have made of Katsumi Ando's effort in the Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin in Japan.
Earnestly took out the HK$26.6 million Group One but we couldn't find a stewards' report or news story on the web in English to find out what happened to the rider of third-placed runner Eishin Flash.
Again, the irony of it. Ando is noted in Japanese racing for his vigour and strength, none of which was on show in the last couple of strides of the race as the rider appeared to feel the job was done and Buena Vista grabbed second.
The margin was a nose and the photo took that long that there were runners in the race already at stud by the time the quinella spot was signalled. Any momentary lapse by Ando was the HK$2 million difference between second and third prize money - or just about twice the entire money for the Czech Derby - not to mention what was at stake on the betting boards.
Punters bet HK$273 million on the quinella, HK$160 million on the Exacta (quinella in correct order) and HK$819 million on the Trifecta (Tierce), all of which came out differently as a result of Buena Vista finishing second.