Result of an enquiry (Dane O’Neill) and an appeal (Louis Steward) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 2 October
The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on Thursday 2 October 2014 held an enquiry to establish whether or not Dane O’Neill, had committed a breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 of the Rules of Racing concerning his use of the whip when riding ANYA, placed second, in the BetVictor.com Fillies’ Handicap Stakes at Kempton Park on 25 September 2014. The matter was referred to the BHA by the Kempton Stewards following an enquiry on the same day because this was O’Neill’s fifth offence of mis-use of the whip, warranting a suspension of between two to six days, in the last six months.
The Panel heard submissions from O’Neill’s legal representative, and viewed recordings of the race.
The Panel accepted O’Neill’s admission that he was guilty of misuse of the whip in that he had used his whip above the permitted level. It considered that the breach would have warranted a suspension of two days.
Taking into account that O’Neill:
i) had committed five whip breaches (3 x 2 days and 2 x 4 day), since 20 May 2014; and
ii) had had 345 rides over this period
it suspended him from riding for 21 days, of which seven days will be deferred for two months until 23 December 2014. The suspension will run from Friday 10 October 2014 until Thursday 23 October 2014 inclusive.
The Panel imposed an entry point suspension, as they felt the mitigating factor of the number of rides was negated by the suspension days received for previous offences and the period of time over which they occurred.
The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA on Thursday 2 October 2014 considered an appeal lodged by Louis Steward, the rider of MISSISSIPPI QUEEN (USA), unplaced, against the decision of the Kempton Park Stewards on 18 September 2014 to find him in breach of Rule (B)59.4 of the Rules of Racing and to suspend him for 10 days, in that he failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure the filly ran on her merits.
The Panel considered evidence from Steward, who was legally represented, and Michael Bell, the trainer of MISSISSIPPI QUEEN (USA), via telephone, who confirmed his instructions to Steward. It also viewed recordings of the race.
The filly, drawn 5, was held up early and taken to the rail and on rounding the home bend was restrained until the cut away. From this point the race quickened and when the gaps opened Steward failed to make sufficient effort to put the filly into a potentially challenging position. The Panel felt that his hands and heels ride failed to satisfy their interpretation of Rule (D)45.2 i.e. providing timely, real and substantial effort.
In keeping with standard practice, at the original enquiry the Veterinary Officer examined the filly soon after the race and again one hour later and reported that he could not find any abnormalities that would have affected her running. Later that evening a subsequent scope of the filly revealed that she had bled, and the Panel were given an expert report for information and clarification.
However, Steward told the Panel he had had no welfare concerns for the filly throughout the race and had made no post-race report at Scales. He said that he felt he “could have been more vigorous” but thought that it was the best way to ride the filly and keep her within her comfort zone. The Panel noted MISSISSIPI QUEEN (USA) had a history of having also bled after her two previous runs, but in the absence of having any welfare concerns in running, Steward had the responsibility of asking for a timely, real and substantial effort.
The Panel dismissed the appeal and confirmed the 10 day suspension on Saturday 4 and Monday 6 to Tuesday 14 October 2014 inclusive. The Panel ordered that the deposit be returned.
Notes to editors:
1. The Panel for the hearings was: Lucinda Cavendish (Chair), Didi Powles, Roger Bellamy.