A comedy of errors will be examined in an appeal from trainer Aaron Goadsby after two of his runners, including the winner, were disqualified from a race on Friday night at Newcastle Paceway because they started from the wrong positions and carried the incorrect numbers.
Artistic Scott, with Michael Formosa driving, won the final race on the 10-event card after working forward early to sit outside the leader before finishing strongly to defeat Double Lines.
However, Artistic Scott, a $6 chance, wrongly carried number seven instead of five. He was named as stablemate and odds-on favourite Kozaczynski when crossing the finish line in front. Kozaczynski, a $1.70 shot driven by Tom Ison, incorrectly carried number five instead of seven and appeared to finish sixth.
The mix-up meant the pair started from the wrong barrier and Artistic Scott was in fact disadvantaged with a wider gate. Stewards disqualified both runners and an inquiry into the blunder was adjourned.
Whittingham-based Goadsby was in Queensland to prepare Remy Brown and James Cagney for Saturday night's Albion Park feature program when contacted by stewards about the decision on Friday night.
Goadsby said on Sunday that the situation was "a mess" and "there was a degree of misfortune from stewards, right down to my own staff". He said there was incompetency from his staff for putting the wrong numbers on initially, but there was also fault from the drivers for not recognising their runners were out of position at the start.
He said there was also incompetency from the starter and race staff because all runners were meant to have their identifying microchip scanned and matched to their number as they went onto the track.
He said stewards admitted the starter did not scan his pair.
Goadsby believed he should have been afforded a chance to provide a submission to stewards before their decision to disqualify.
He said he would fight the ruling on behalf of Artistic Scott's owners, who missed out on the $5184 first prize, plus $9000 in bonuses. Double Lines was declared the winner. Goadsby's third runner in the maiden-level race, Sweet Valeria, was elevated to fifth.
The trainer said he had also raised with stewards the potential for mistakes under the existing system, where trainers or their staff grab their horse's number before the race, instead of it being allocated by officials. He also pointed to similar incidents where only fines were issued but results and prizemoney stood.