Jockey Club officials will explore ways to provide higher quality photo finish pictures to the public after the dead-heat call between Go Beauty Go and What Else But You on Sunday caused some consternation among punters.
With more than HK$10 million worth of win bets wagered on Go Beauty Go and more than HK$8 million on What Else But You in the Hyacinth Handicap, there was plenty hinging on the decision of the three-man judging panel.
Chief steward Kim Kelly reviewed the photo finish on Monday morning and was satisfied that the right call had been made by judges and added that the lower quality version of the image made available to the public had perhaps “led to some confusion”.
“The public deserves to see as close as possible to what the judges see, and what the public saw on Sunday wasn’t close to what the judges saw in terms of quality,” Kelly said.
“After there was some public discussion about the result, I arranged to take a look at it on the actual monitor the judges use, rather than a photo taken from a paper printout, and I am comfortable with the decision the judges made.
“You lose a lot of clarity on the paper printout. What the judges see on the monitor in the judges’ box is of a much higher clarity.”
Caller Brett Davis thought What Else But You crossed the line first in the deceptive looking finish to the Class Three race, before adding, “... maybe, by a whisker”, while Go Beauty Go’s jockey, Zac Purton, also thought What Else But You had won.
Then when photographs taken from a paper copy of the finish circulated on social media on Sunday night, the vast majority of fans felt there was a clear, if only small, margin in favour of What Else But You.
“I think the copies made available to the public have led to some confusion,” Kelly said. “We will have a look at the logistics of it, but when it gets down to very close margins, perhaps the best thing to do is to do away with that paper copy and somehow make the higher resolution digital version available via a link, to let the public see something closer to what the judges see.”
Last month a close finish at Happy Valley also generated some discussion when Spinning Dancer was declared the winner of a Class Four by a nose and connections of runner-up Trendy Win requested to look at an image of the finish.
Kelly said that decision had taken longer to make than Sunday’s call due to the fact it was a night meeting and because of the request made by jockey Ben So Tik-hung to view the photo.
In most cases, stewards don’t have an official role in the judging process, with a head judge, deputy judge and honorary judge examining finishes on a high definition monitor and basing their decision from that.
“They are very experienced and accomplished. We have complete faith in the judging panel and they have our full support,” Kelly said.