Horse owners challenge controversial verdict

Updated: Dec 09, 2017, 13:44 IST | Prakash Gosavi

The controversy over the ruling given by the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) stewards on November 26 (RWITC coins new phrase: "Accidental, and upheld", mid-day, Nov 27) is refusing to die down

The controversy over the ruling given by the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) stewards on November 26 (RWITC coins new phrase: "Accidental, and upheld", mid-day, Nov 27) is refusing to die down.

A fresh salvo has been fired by the owners of Bottega Louie, the three-year-old filly who had won the Style Cracker Classic on the racetrack, but was later relegated to second place in the stewards' room after Trevor Patel, jockey of the runner up, Cambridge, objected against the winner.

Demand for video
All four men who each own a quarter share in Bottega Louie--Akhtar A Peerbhoy, Ajay K Arora, BR Agarwal & Pramod G Churi--have written a jointly signed letter to challenge the controversial verdict.

In their note dated Nov 28 (a copy of which is in mid-day's possession), the owners have not only made clear their intentions to appeal against the decision, but have also demanded complete video recording of the inquiry proceedings, besides the full coverage of the said race from all views and angles of the camera, to "further enlist grounds of appeal [sic]".

"We are willing to pay the necessary charges to obtain the same," reads the concluding sentence of the letter.

Quick refusal
The RWITC, on their part, was quick to dismiss the owners' demand, citing rule 46(a) of Rules of Racing, which explicitly states that the board of appeal cannot be approached about decisions related to objections.

"We were surprised by their response," Akhtar Peerbhoy, one of the owners of Bottega Louie, told mid-day, "because it was obvious we appealed under rule 191, and not 46(a). Only under 191, we have a right to appeal to the stewards of the club because the inquiry was not conducted with the presence of minimum three stewards as was the case in this particular inquiry."

"Anyway, we have now written to them, and are awaiting the material that we will use to lodge the grounds of appeal," Peerbhoy added.

When contacted by mid-day, NHS Mani, secretary and chief executive officer of RWITC, confirmed having received another communication from the owners of Bottega Louie, seeking to appeal under rule 191, and said, "It is being looked into."

Matter of honour
"We are fighting for the honour of our filly (Bottega Louie) who had won the race fair and square, but was not allowed to keep it," Peerbhoy insisted, "and we are positive we will get justice from the stewards."

"It's not about the prize money," Peerbhoy went on to add, "in fact, I have made it clear if justice, as I see it, is done, I will give away my share of the stakes to the syces' welfare fund."

As great grandson of Sir Adamji Peerbhoy, the first Indian sheriff of Mumbai and famous philanthropist, Akhtar Peerbhoy says he also has an obligation to defend the illustrious family's reputation as a horse loving family. "That's why you will always find my horses being ridden by top jockeys," he said, "because we want them to give out their best in a race."

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