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Horses are rarely disqualified in British racing and it takes an extreme offence and obvious jockey error for any horse to lose a race be relegated from a finishing position. Technical offences do occur but jockeys are now too professional to make mistakes with weights and riding gear.
When there is an incident in a race that could have affected the result the stewards call for an inquiry or a jockey can make an objection if there is a belief that another jockey rode outside the rules and affected the result. The placings remain unaltered in most cases but disqualifications do happen. Riding infringements and weight discrepancies are the most common reasons.
When a horse is disqualified from first place or one of the other payout places it can be a nightmare for bookmakers. When there is a steward’s inquiry most bookmakers will not pay out but some offer first past the post betting.
Customers who have backed the disqualified horse are entitled to the winnings and those who had money on the horse who is awarded the race in the steward’s room are also paid out. Bookmakers take the view that the increased business from the concession will compensate for the rare instances when in effect they pay out on two winners.
Disqualifications mainly take place on the day of the race but there are occasions when a result will be altered at a later date. Bookmakers are not required to settle bets on the amended result and ante post wagers are settled on the original outcome.
At a later date it might transpire that there is evidence of fraud or the jockey was not qualified to ride in the race. Most of the rare disqualifications are announced immediately after the steward’s enquiry on the day of the race.