Result of an appeal (A Jordan) and enquiries (T O’Brien, Musselburgh Racecourse) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 21 May

21 May 2015 Disciplinary Panel - Appeals against decisions on a Racecourse Disciplinary Panel - Referrals from Racecourse

Alan Jordan

1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on Thursday 21 May 2015 considered an appeal lodged by Mr Alan Jordan, the owner of NELLIES QUEST, against the decision of the Worcester Stewards on 7 May 2015 to find NELLIES QUEST, ridden by Brendan Powell Jnr, had accidentally interfered with GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE), placed second, in the Post Your Bets at Mares’ Maiden Hurdle Race (Div 2), and that the interference had improved NELLIES QUEST’s placing and to reverse the placings.

2. The enquiry before the Panel took the form (as always in such cases) of a rehearing rather than a review of the Worcester decision. The BHA’s case was presented by Lyn Williams with evidence given by Andrew Thornton, the rider of GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE). Brendan Powell Snr presented Mr Jordan’s Appeal with Brendan Powell Jnr, the rider of NELLIES QUEST, giving evidence on his behalf. The Panel also viewed recordings of the race.

3. The BHA submitted that the accidental interference caused by NELLIES QUEST on GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE) took the mare off its intended line thereby causing Thornton to lose momentum and to re-balance the mare. The BHA contended that once balanced GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE) made up substantial ground on NELLIES QUEST, only to be beaten by a nose. The BHA further submitted that had the interference not occurred GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE) would have beaten NELLIES QUEST.

4. Powell Snr accepted that accidental interference had occurred, but said that the momentum lost by GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE) was negligible and did not affect the result.

Powell Snr pointed out that the run in at Worcester racecourse, approximately 1½ furlongs from the last hurdle to the line, gave GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE) time to respond, and if good enough, was capable of passing NELLIES QUEST, which Powell Snr stated had picked up again before the winning post.

5. The Panel concluded that NELLIES QUEST had caused accidental interference with GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE), in that, over the last hurdle NELLIES QUEST took GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE) off her intended line, as a result the mare faltered on landing causing her to lose ground and momentum.

6. On landing after the last hurdle Powell Jnr was able to get his horse running quicker, unlike Thornton who, following the accidental interference, took time to re-balance his horse. Having lost more than a length Thornton was able to regain the lost ground only to be beaten by a nose on the line. The Panel was satisfied that the interference improved the placing of NELLIES QUEST in relation to GIVEAGIRLACHANCE (IRE) to which it had caused interference.

7. The Panel dismissed Mr Jordan’s appeal and confirmed the placings. It ordered the deposit to be returned.


Tom O’Brien

The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA held an enquiry on Thursday 21 May 2015 into the breath sample provided by Tom O’Brien, a licensed jockey, at Stratford-upon-Avon racecourse on 19 April 2015.

O’Brien’s sample was found to contain alcohol in a concentration above the threshold level permitted under Schedule (D)3 of the Rules of Racing headed “Banned substances and notifiable medications”.

Having considered the evidence, the Panel accepted an admission from Tom O’Brien, in his absence, that he was in breach of Rule (D)66. Taking into account that the level of alcohol found was 24 mgs/100ml of breath, which fell within the range of the ‘Lower Level’, and that this was O’Brien’s first offence, the Panel cautioned him against providing a finding above the threshold level for alcohol in the future. It also pointed out to O’Brien that a second breach of this nature within 24 months would lead to a much more serious outcome.


Musselburgh Racecourse

1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on Thursday 21 May 2015 held an enquiry to consider whether or not the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee, the Managing Executive of Musselburgh Racecourse had committed a breach of Rule (F)15.3.9 of the Rules of Racing, in the light of BHA General Instruction 4.1 (para 1), headed ‘Standard For Camera Patrol And Technical Facilities For Stewards’, in that the funfair the Executive allowed to be set up on the stand-side of the course (approximately 1½ furlongs from the finish) partially obscured the Stewards’ side-on camera coverage of some races on 3 April and of all races on 5 April 2015 and thereby compromised the camera patrol integrity coverage provided on both days.

2. The Panel heard submissions from Lyn Williams on behalf of the BHA, Bill Farnsworth, Musselburgh General Manager and Harriet Graham, Clerk of the Course.

3. The Panel noted that on Friday 3 April 2015 the Stewards had held an enquiry concerning the partial obscuring of the side-on camera by a funfair ride. Having heard from the Racetech Producer, Operations Executive and the Clerk of the Course, it was agreed that the ride would be lowered for the first three races which had Channel 4 coverage, but allowed the ride to be operated fully for races 4 – 7 inclusive. It was agreed that the ride would be re-sited so as not to obscure the side-on camera at the “next meeting”.

4. The Panel were satisfied, the BHA accepted, that there was a genuine misunderstanding between the Stewards and the Racecourse management as to what was meant by the “next meeting”.  The Stewards believing the ride would be re-sited by the meeting two days later (i.e. 5 April) and the Racecourse management believing that it was to be re-sited by the meeting in May 2015.

5. The funfair ride remained in situ, and on Sunday 5 April there was a further enquiry about the ride again obscuring the side-on camera. The misunderstanding became apparent, and for pragmatic reasons the Stewards decided to allow the ride to remain where it was for the remainder of that day. The matter was referred to the BHA.

6. The BHA’s case was that the funfair ride, whether fully elevated or not, partially obscured the side-on camera coverage of the race at about the 3 furlong marker and this compromised the integrity of the patrol cameras. It mattered not that the Racetech Producer at the enquiry on 3 April, considered that the camera integrity had not been compromised; the Stewards considered that it did, and for that reason had not only held enquiries on the Friday, but also on Sunday.

7. The Musselburgh Executive argued that the Racetech Producer had expressly stated at the enquiry on the Friday that he did not consider that the integrity had been compromised, furthermore the Executive stated that the area was adequately covered by the head-on and scout cameras. In addition, the Executive stated that the side-on camera in any event was at least partially obscured by moving buses, poles and tannoy speakers and the such like, and produced a series of photographs to illustrate this. In all the circumstances, the Executive disputed that Rule (F)15.3.9 had been breached.

8. The Panel noted that the relevant General Instruction stated “There must be sufficient cameras to ensure that the camera patrol integrity cover is not compromised in any way and is sufficient to enable the entirety of the racetrack to be covered by integrity cameras.”

9. The Panel found that the funfair ride did in fact partially obscure the side-on camera, particularly when fully elevated, and considered that the Stewards were correct in holding two enquiries to address the matter, and that the view of the Racetech Producer, whilst part of the evidence, was not decisive. It also clearly agreed that the Stewards directed the ride to be re-sited at the next meeting, whatever misunderstanding there was as to date and would have given such a direction if they considered the integrity of the side-on camera was compromised. The Panel considered the fact that the Stewards, for pragmatic reasons, allowed racing to continue with the ride in situ, does not vitiate the fact there was a breach.

10. The Panel took into account that the Musselburgh Executive had been written to in June 2013 by the BHA when it was warned of its responsibilities to ensure integrity sight lines were not compromised when permitting temporary structures to be erected. The Panel appreciated that there was a genuine misunderstanding with the Stewards’ instruction to move the ride before the next meeting and in the circumstances fined the Executive £2,500.


Notes to editors: 

1. The Panel for the hearings was: Philip Curl (Chair), Celina Carter, Jeremy Barlow.