Result of an enquiry (Jason Ward) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 19 June

19 Jun 2014 Disciplinary Panel - Other decisions

Jason Ward

1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on 19 June 2014 held an enquiry to consider whether or not Jason Ward, a Licensed Trainer, had committed a breach of Rules (C)22.1 and (C)27 of the Rules of Racing in that he had failed to conduct his business of training racehorses with reasonable care and skill; and/or with due regard for the interests of owners and horses under his care and control; and/or for failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety and welfare of all the horses under his care or control (whether or not they were in training).

Background

2. CLOUDS OF GLORY, EASTWARD HO, GLADSOME, KUWAIT STAR, MORNA’S GLORY and ROMANTICIZE were owned by Miss Vivian Pratt and trained by Ward. On 26 August 2013 Miss Pratt asked Ward for the six horses to be taken out of training. Following the settlement of the training fees on 18 October 2013, the horses were removed by Miss Pratt from Ward’s training premises on 23 October 2013 and taken to the licensed premises of Michael Herrington.

3. On 24 October 2013, following complaints to the BHA from Herrington about the condition of the six horses, an inspection of Ward’s licensed premises was carried out by a BHA Veterinary Officer and a BHA Stable Inspector. There were no concerns over the condition of the horses on Ward’s yard. On the following day they attended Herrington’s training premises and examined the six horses. The six horses were also examined, at the request of Herrington, by Stewart Mechie, a Veterinary Surgeon employed by veterinary practice Stirk and Associates.

4. The six horses were given body condition “scores”. These scores were based on the Carroll and Huntingdon Method which is reproduced in the Equine Industry Welfare Guidelines for Horses, Ponies and Donkeys (Third Edition) (the “Guidelines”) published by the National Equine Welfare Council. Paragraphs 128 to 133 of the Guidelines govern the weight and body condition scoring of horses. The relevant Codes are:
(i) Paragraph 128 of the Guidelines states that:
“Body condition scoring (BCS) is a method of evaluating body fat in relationship to body musculature and is an important tool for assessing whether a horse is overweight, the right weight or underweight”.

(ii) Paragraph 129 of the Guidelines states that:
A horse’s body condition should ideally be maintained at body condition score 3, varying no more than between 2.5 and 3.5 on a scale of 0 (Very Poor) to 5 (Very Fat). If a horse’s condition score declines to 2 or below; or increases to 4 or above then action should be taken to correct this”.

(iii) Paragraph 132 of the Guidelines states that:
If a horse’s BCS falls below 2 it should not be worked, and veterinary advice should be sought as soon as possible. As with all horses, the person responsible should also ensure the horse has access to, and is consuming, an appropriate diet and if necessary provided with a warm shelter”.

5. The results from both the BHA Veterinary Officer and Mr Mechie’s independent report were very similar and confirmed that EASTWOOD HO, KUWAIT STAR and ROMANTICIZE fell below the threshold body score 2. Both reports scored the other three horses, CLOUDS OF GLORY, MORNA’S GLORY and GLADSOME, between 2 and 3.

6. Ward and his brother, assistant trainer Timothy Ward, were interviewed by BHA Investigating Officers on 21 November 2013. Ward had stated during interview that he and his brother were responsible for the feeding of the horses. Ward had admitted that he had failed to carry out this duty in relation to EASTWOOD HO, KUWAIT STAR and ROMANTICIZE. When it was put to him that it appeared that these horses had not been given enough food, he had responded that “obviously we have not been feeding them enough”. Timothy Ward had agreed that the maintenance diet the horses were being fed was “clearly not enough”. During the interview Ward admitted that the three horses looked poor when they left his yard. Timothy Ward had also stated that the horses should have been checked more regularly and their rugs removed. In this respect both had failed to follow paragraph 1.23 of the Code which states that “rugs should be regularly removed so the horse’s body condition and general health can be checked. Ideally this should be done daily”.

7. The horses that were in full training and not under the ownership of Miss Pratt had been stabled in the approved part of Ward’s yard and had looked well on the day of the inspection. The six horses owned by Miss Pratt had been kept in the unapproved part of Ward’s yard after being taken out of training, and EASTWOOD HO, KUWAIT STAR and ROMANTICIZE had suffered as a result of not being monitored regularly.

Submissions

8. The Panel heard submissions from Ward and his legal representative. The Panel noted that Ward felt deeply ashamed and embarrassed at what had transpired and that he was extremely sorry.

Penalty

9. The Panel accepted an admission from Ward that he was in breach of Rules (C)22.1 and 27 and imposed a fine of £2,000 upon him.


Notes to editors:

1. The Panel for the enquiry was: Pihilip Curl (Chair), Edward Dorrell, Jeremy Barlow.

For more information contact:

Robin Mounsey
British Horseracing Authority
t:02071520048
m: 07584 171551
e: rmounsey@britishhorseracing.com