What is a Stewards’ Enquiry?

As the name suggests, a stewards’ enquiry is an investigation into an incident, or incidents, occurring during a certain race and is held, if necessary, by racecourse stewards on the day of the race in question. Indeed, a stewards’ enquiry is usually conducted, and completed, in the interval between the race under scrutiny and the next race.

A stewards’ enquiry is led by a so-called ‘stipendiary’ steward, whose job it is to ensure that all races are run in accordance with the Rules of Racing, and its purpose is to review the race for any infractions, such as interference in the closing stages, which may or may not have affected the result, and riding offences, such as ‘improper’ or ‘careless’ riding.

The calling of a stewards’ enquiry is announced on the racecourse by the sounding of a klaxon and, thereafter, all the involved parties – that is, the stipendiary steward, two local stewards, other officials, jockeys, trainers and stable staff – convene in the stewards’ room to review video footage of the race in question. All parties have the opportunity to provide further information that may not be immediately apparent and the stewards subsequently make a joint decision on an appropriate course of action. Consequently, the placings in the race may remain unaltered, or be revised, and fines or suspensions may be imposed on the individuals concerned. In any case, the outcome of the stewards’ enquiry is clearly announced on the racecourse, followed by the ‘weighed in’ announcement.