Rein horse racing legacy
Rein ring-in affair may well have happened nearly 300 years ago but
the fall out from the scandal has had positive effects on the sport
of horse racing to this very day.
unfamiliar with the Running Rein story.......Running Rein was a ring-in
that "won" the 1844 Epsom Derby which was already established
in the punting world as British racing's premier event of the day.
Running Rein was really a one year older horse named Maccabeus and
was backed to win fifty thousand pounds in in the 1844 Derby - an
absolute fortune in those days and the equivalent in today's money
of many millions and millions of dollars.
won by 3 lengths from Orlando, whose owner protested and took the
matter to the courts to have it decided. When the ring in was proven,
the race was awarded to Orlando which is why it appears in the records
as the winner of the 1844 Derby and was of course awarded the £4250
in prize money.
in the punting fraternity that followed was long and loud and forced
the authorities of the time, headed by Lord George Bentlinck who was
head of the stewards, to undertake a massive revamp of the sport to
stop it being destroyed by corruption and controversy. Interestingly,
Bentlinck was assisted by Admiral John Henry Rous, who was later to
give us the weight for age scale.
was in a shambles by the time the revamp was ordered and the changes
were wide ranging.
this time race meetings were "rambling affairs" with races
often match races over three or four miles run at dawdling pace until
the last half mile. To make it more interesting, Bentlinck introduced
race programmes with large fields competing over much shorter distances.
sure the events actually started on time, the clerk of the course
was now to be fined for every minute the race was late. (Imagine the
furore if they brought that law back today at some tracks!)
also made it standard practice that the saddling of all horses had
to be done in a centrally located public enclosure and that a "large
notice board should be erected for the purpose of displaying saddlecloth
numbers, jockey and weight".
Bentlinck also devised the "Dual Flag" system with red flag
(starting signal lights today) and white flag 100 metres down the
track from the start, to warn jockeys of a false start.
the jockeys image, that 'gentleman riders' could no longer compete
in 'important events' and that professional riders' names should be
published in the Racing Calendar.
the Jockey Club also introduced a rule that stated "that the
Judge should be precluded from receiving any presents what ever from
winners of races" which in the next century evolved in to the
system of stipendiary stewards.
new laws were then published in the 1850 book, The Laws And Practice
Of Horse Racing, by Admiral Rous.
punters in the know may well have lost the lot due to Running Rein
- but racing certainly was saved from oblivion by that same horse
which led to laws of racing being introduced that still apply in their
basic form all these years later.
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