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
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
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

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'