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Protest Hearings Could Be Overhauled To Mirror US

Wednesday, 19th February 2014

The format used in Australian racing for protest hearings could be changed if a motion by stewards at this weekend's national conference is adopted, reports theage.com.au. Queensland stewards will put forward a motion that will reduce the amount of time spent staging protest hearings and replacing the current process with a US-style approach. It is believed the overhaul of the system will involve stewards hearing evidence from jockeys only, and then making a decision with the assistance of multi-angled closed-circuit film footage. Racing officials have been concerned for years that the protracted protest hearings that included evidence from owners and trainers have only added to the time taken to reach a resolution. It has been argued that evidence from these third parties is irrelevant, not to mention fundamentally flawed due to extreme bias. The North American model seems much more streamlined. In the US, if a jockey lodges a protest stewards speak to the rider by phone after he weighs in and, without any other input from connections of the two horses involved, a verdict is declared.

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