Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Racing Post Report by Rodney Masters - 20th May 2008

BRITAIN'S jockeys have been handed a stark warning by a leading official from the BHA that they “need toget their act together” over use of the whip or face the risk of a criminal prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act.

The red-alert came from Tony Goodhew, the BHA's director of licensing and standards, at a jockeys' seminar during the Dante meeting at York last week.

Goodhew explained to riders that animal rights groups could decide to bring a prosecution against a rider who had flouted the whip regulations by utilising the Animal Welfare Act, which came into force last year.

“It's something the jockeys must be aware of, and I did warn them of the situation at the seminar,” said Goodhew.

“The BHA is in talks with both the government and the RSCPA over the issue, but the jockeys must do their part and do need to get their act together over the whip.”

From once being a distant prospect, the threat of prosecution by animal welfare supporters has drawn alarmingly close for the BHA, to the point where Goodhew was despatched with his blunt message.

The fear of a test case prosecution heightened last December, when police responded to a request from Animal Aid to investigate Eddie Ahern's ride on Marsam at Southwell.

Ahern hit the horse up to 20 times in the last two furlongs, raising weals on the skin, and, under BHA rules, was banned for three months.

Detective chief superintendent Neil James, from the Nottinghamshire force, met with BHA officials in London to be briefed on racing's disciplinary procedures, but there was no further action in the courts.

The Animal Welfare Act introduced a welfare offence that places a ‘duty of care' on jockeys, as well as owners, trainers and the BHA, to ensure that horses are not abused.

Previously, a prosecution occurred only in cases where an animal had been caused unnecessary suffering.

David Muir, the RSPCA's equine consultant, said: “Like anyone else, jockeys aren't above the law.

“If you use the example of football, if a player commits a foul it is dealt with by the Football Association but if a player runs across the field and punches somebody on the nose, he would be dealt with by the police.

“If a jockey behaves so unreasonably with a horse he causes it unnecessary suffering, then it doesn't preclude anybody, whether it is the RSPCA or the police, to prosecute.

“Yes, it is something that could happen, but to stop it happening the three bodies, the BHA, PJA and RSPCA, are working together to ensure it doesn't get to that stage.”

Muir added: “We are talking about a small minority of jockeys who go to these lengths, but that minority brings the whole of racing into disrepute, and it's one of the things the public detest.”

Josh Apiafi, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys' Association, said he was also aware of the dangers of a criminal prosecution.

“The BHA did a lot of work to stop the Nottingham police taking action in the Eddie Ahern case and basically got told to address the situation, and fast, because of the increase in whip offences,” said Apiafi.

“While there has been an increase, they were all one or two days, and not Eddie Ahern-type incidents.

“The BHA told us as soon as the police wanted to get involved, and the main reason for the recent jockeys' seminars is to explain the situation – and the number of offences is coming down.”

Rory Mac Neice, a former jockey and now partner in and head of sports law for legal firm Ashfords, stated last night that the need for self-regulation by racing was an urgent one.

He said: “I believe it would need to be a very extreme example of abuse for a jockey to be prosecuted and I've never come across such an example.

“In my opinion, it is vital that racing continues to be self-regulating as, should that be removed, regulation would be done by a third party, and that would not be good for the sport.

“Therefore, it is important for the PJA and the BHA to work together to ensure there is consistency and confidence in the application of the whip rules, so that jockeys and stewards know the way the whip is used.”




Racing Post Report by Bruce Jackson - posted 4:06pm 17th May 2008
Commander Patrick Rice's internal review of his force's investigation into possible corruption in horseracing found "no evidence to suggest any improper conduct or deceit by any of the officers".

However, Ian Burton, senior partner in BCL Burton Copeland solicitors, highlighted the review's assertion that the attorney general had not been formally requested to review the case. That was one of the review's summary conclusions, referring to defence counsel contending that police officers had acted improperly and that counsel had told the media that it would request that the attorney general review the case.

Burton said on Friday: "Our report was sent to the attorney general's office on January 31 and is being considered fully. That fact is fairly indicative of this review, which is inaccurate and ill-researched.

"The problem of the report is that it is a self-serving document. It only involves police officers, who didn't find any fault in what they had done, unsurprisingly."

The report also picked up on the trial cost having been put at £950,000 in answer to a parliamentary question.

Burton added: "The cost to Mr Fallon alone runs into several million pounds."

The review still leaves nobody held to blame for the collapse of the costly and damaging trial at the Old Bailey, in which six-time champion Fallon, fellow jockeys Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, owner and gambler Miles Rodgers, Philip Sherkle and Shaun Lynch were cleared of all charges.

At the end of the prosecution, six weeks into the high-profile case, trial judge Mr Justice Forbes found there was no case to answer, as put forward by defence counsel.

Dame Elizabeth Neville's independent review of the BHA's security department, published on Wednesday, cleared it of any blame for the failure of the prosecution.
Rice, who joined the City of London police in 2006, said his force would not be put off investigating another horseracing case if it involved possible deception of the public.

"The recommendation would be ‘let's go for it', and that can only be to the benefit of horseracing," he said on Friday.

Rejecting suggestions that investigating officers did not have enough knowledge of horseracing and betting, he said he felt it was right the police had pursued the case in the public cause as racing "is a tradition in the country and brings a huge amount of money into the economy, and includes the royal family as owners and spectators".

The review identified a number of procedural and control issues, including the way initially the Jockey Club and then its successor the BHB were handled through the investigation.

The review confirmed racing's regulatory authority had been treated as the complainant and therefore had been "kept at arm's length" to prevent any claims of bias in the prosecution case.

"I think there was an opportunity in 2004 , and in the future, to codify a working relationship by way of a memorandum of understanding," Rice added.

"I suggested to the Dame Elizabeth Neville inquiry that there is a need for a closer working relationship."

Paul Struthers, spokesman for the BHA, said: "We have no specific comment on the police review – there is nothing to say that hasn't already been said.

"Dame Elizabeth Neville recommended we deal with our own constituents wherever possible, apart from very extreme circumstances where our first port of call would be the gambling commission."


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Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Brian, winner of the 2006 Pride of Racing Award died on Sunday night at his home in Newbury, he was 68. He leaves a wife Lorna, and their son and two daughters. His funeral is to be held in Lambourn - Berkshire, on Thursday-week, May 22nd 2008. Please telephone Rowan at the Racing Welfare Office at Lambourn 01488 670034 for further details.

He was a very calm, quiet and kind man who never failed in his support for all those working in the British Horseracing Industry during their most difficult times. He will be sadly missed as there are few such people left in the industry who's actions and kindness have made such a difference.

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