Dar Re Mi verdict deferred

Drawn-out hearing over demoted filly highlights need to harmonise rules

The French like to digest things properly, and that predilection seemingly extends to food for thought. Yesterday the owner, trainer and jockey of Dar Re Mi returned to Paris to make an indignant appeal against her relegation from first to fifth in the Prix Vermeille 11 days previously. But they were advised not to expect a verdict until Tuesday, and accordingly postponed their own decision on whether their filly will go back to the scene of the crime on Sunday week, for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe itself.

Win, lose or draw, the episode has confirmed that when it comes to horses, the law really is an ass. And, conveniently enough, the onus for reform rests with the French.

Not that the facts in this instance justified the more chauvinistic tantrums this side of the Channel, perceiving some beastly prejudice against les rosbifs. After all, if the rules are crazy, that is hardly the fault of the stewards charged with ensuring that those rules are observed.

On the other hand, the strict liability applied to Jimmy Fortune was in weird contrast with the equivalent panel's indulgence to Kieren Fallon, when he won the 2007 Arc on Dylan Thomas. The interference suffered by Youmzain that day was far more blatant, and they ended up sharing a photo finish. All that proves, however, is that mortal inconsistency is inevitable wherever you go.

But there is undoubtedly a more fundamental, cultural distinction here: a perfect example of the perils of statutory literalism, in contrast with the habits of pragmatism that tend to be learnt by "common law" jurists.

By any objective measure the British rules seem less likely to generate inequitable results. If a horse is deemed to have been denied prize-money through interference, the French require that the perpetrator be placed behind its perceived victim, in this instance a German filly named Soberania, who finished fifth after a manoeuvre by Fortune that might well have been overlooked altogether on these shores. In Britain, stewards only alter the placings – assuming they discover no extreme offence, such as dangerous riding – should they decide that interference has improved the position of the transgressor in relation to the hampered animal.

Naturally, the connections of Dar Re Mi must base their appeal on the French rules. They are understood to have argued that the traffic problems in the Vermeille could be traced to the rider of Stacelita's pacemaker, in appearing to make way for the favourite. On that basis, they propose that Stacelita, far from being promoted, should herself be disqualified.

Whatever the outcome, lasting damage has been done to sporting entente cordiale. Racing has been made to look ridiculous for its failure to harmonise rules like any other major sport. Instead, even matters integral to its good name, such as doping regulations, vary from one nation to another. And, so far as interference is concerned, the British authorities evidently feel that universal rules are being fatally retarded only by France and Japan.

How fitting, then, that the connections of Stacelita were unable to attend yesterday's hearing because their plane was grounded by mist in Pau. No doubt they were grateful to be spared further embarrassment in their good fortune. Admirable as their filly is, her "unbeaten" record is now tainted by a result most other jurisdictions would consider specious and unenlightened. This, surely, is one occasion when the old headline has a legitimate message for the French: Fog in Channel; Continent cut off.

Turf account: Chris McGrath

Nap Enact (2.35 Ascot) Has repeatedly looked capable of better, and success at Nottingham last month suggested everything was falling into place. Just caught out by extra furlong on testing ground next time, but everything is in place today.

Next best

Shamandar (3.10 Ascot) Clear pick of the weights after her Listed success at Salisbury and her strong finish in the conditions seemed to answer stamina reservations about an extra half-furlong today.

One to watch

Sing Sweetly (G A Butler) is bred to stay well next year so it was encouraging to see so much dash on her debut over 7f at Kempton on Monday.

Where the money's going

With favourable conditions reported in Paris, Sea The Stars is 4-5 with Ladbrokes from evens, for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Suggested Topics
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn