What is a stewards’ enquiry in horse racing?

Discover why a stewards’ enquiry can impact on your horse racing bet and how Paddy Power pays out following changes to the official race result

Stewards enquiry horse racing

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Horse races in the UK and Ireland are run by what are known as race stewards. These effectively act as the referees of a race and ensure each event is run safely and fairly.

But often new punters to the world of horse racing betting won’t need to worry about stewards until a stewards’ enquiry is called. Knowing what is a stewards’ enquiry can help you spot when one might be needed, and how it could impact on your bets.

And so, Paddy Power is here to bring you everything you need to know about stewards’ enquiries, why they exist and how your horse racing bets can be affected by decisions made after a race.

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What is a stewards’ enquiry?

As we detailed in our guide to race stewards in horse racing, the point of the stewards is to officiate the race and ensure it is carried out in safety. Unfortunately, sometimes jockeys push the rules a little bit too far and their riding can impact the safety of the other runners, and in some cases also amount to unfair racing.

Stewards have the right to mount an enquiry into the race if they deem a jockey of:

  • Improper riding – such as overuse of whip
  • Careless riding – such as interfering with other horses or riding dangerously

Stewards can deliver punishments to jockeys and/or horses after said race if they are found to have breached the rules. If the stewards believe there has been an infringement to the Rules of Racing, they can call an enquiry. Here, the jockey and trainer of the horses in question, as well as sometimes other connections, meet the stewards to discuss an incident with the race.

This incident could be unfair riding that prevented another horse from finishing as it should, or it could be a question as to why a jockey or horse didn’t appear to be racing at maximum effort.

horse racing stewards

Horse racing stewards watch on from boxes on the racecourse (GETTY)

How a stewards’ enquiry works

Once the stewards have heard from the relevant parties regarding an incident they are investigating, they then need to determine whether the enquiry is upheld, and any resulting punishment.

The stewards have the power to expunge a runner from the race if they deem the jockey or horse to have breached the rules. This means that they are stricken from the official results, which can alter who won and placed.

A jockey can also be suspended from future races if they are deemed to have severely broken the rules. Usually the result of an enquiry is announced within 15 minutes of the race finishing. However, this time period can sometimes be extended, depending on the supposed infringement.

stewards' enquiry

Stewards will assess a race and decide if there needs to be an enquiry (GETTY)

Do I get paid after a steward’s enquiry?

At Paddy Power, yes. We pay out for what’s called a Double Result. This means if your horse is first past the post you get paid, however, should your horse be awarded the race or promoted to a place, as a result of a stewards enquiry or an objection which is announced before the ‘weigh in’ or ‘winner alright’, Paddy Power will still pay you.

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