What is a stipendiary steward?
In Britain, horse racing stewards are officials appointed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). They are a mixture of unpaid volunteers and paid, or ‘stipendiary’, stewards who, collectively, oversee the fair running of races, Flat and National Hunt, and enforce the Rules of Racing. A ‘stipend’ is a fixed, regularly-occurring payment, so ‘stipendiary’ is simply the term used to differentiate those stewards who are salaried employees of the BHA from those who are not. At any race meeting, there are typically two, or possibly three, stipendiary stewards – many of whom are former jockeys – on duty.
In the event of a potential breach of the rules, the stewards will call an enquiry, led by a stipendiary steward, to investigate any issues and determine a course of action, if necessary. Having reviewed the race in question and interviewed the jockeys concerned, the stewards have the power to promote, demote or disqualify horses and to hand down suspensions to jockeys guilty of riding infractions, such as ‘improper’ or ‘careless’ riding, which may not, necessarily, have affected the result of the race under scrutiny. They can also forward matters to the BHA Disciplinary Panel for further consideration.