A steward in the world of horse racing acts as the police of the sport and is responsible for the enforcement of racing regulations.
Stewards are there to oversee all horse racing and wagering activities occurring at a race meeting. They ensure that the ‘Rules of Racing’ – the code that all horse racing follows – is upheld.
Although there are no sports markets involving stewards, they do play a very important part in the everyday running of the horse racing world. At every meeting they are ones that are there to make sure that everything is above aboard – including all betting operations.
The most commonly known connection to horse racing that will be known to the public is the stewards’ enquiry. This phrase will be used when there is a possible infringement against the rules of racing. All bets are temporary frozen while the steward’s enquiry is taking place and only paid out when the stewards make a final decision.
During an enquiry a stipendiary steward questions jockeys and trainers about the possible breach of racing regulations and presents the case to a panel that make the final decision.
Although there have been controversial decisions made by stewards in the past the panels these days have a wealth of experience and quite regularly include former jockeys. Relatively little is known about who the identity of stewards but their enquiry findings are always final and all jockeys and trainers – and ultimately the bettors – must respect their decision.
Stewards in the UK are currently voluntary so do not get paid for their time. The British Horseracing Authority is currently looking into the idea of paid panels however.
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