Result of an appeal (David Brown) and enquiries (Lydia Pearce, Robert Stephens and Vitor Santos) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 16 July

16 Jul 2015

David Brown

  1. On 16 July 2015, the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) heard an appeal lodged by David Brown, the trainer of HOME AGAIN, against the decision of the Stewards at Leicester on 4 July 2015 not to reverse the placings of the first and second in the Richard III Visitor Centre Selling Stakes. The Stewards found that inside the final furlong, the winner SWEET TABOO (IRE), ridden by Cathy Gannon, had accidental interfered with HOME AGAIN, ridden by Cam Hardie, but that the interference had not improved SWEET TABOO (IRE)’s placing.
  2. As always, the Disciplinary Panel approached this appeal as a re-hearing. The appeal was presented by David Brown. The BHA’s position was represented by Lyn Williams.  The Panel also heard evidence from Cam Hardie and Cathy Gannon.  It also viewed recordings of the race.
  3. The Panel found that interference did take place inside the final furlong as a result of SWEET TABOO (IRE) hanging badly right and thus interfering with HOME AGAIN.
  4. The Panel considered that Ms Gannon had taken all reasonable steps to stop the filly from hanging and in the circumstances the interference was accidental.  The Panel rejected Mr Brown’s assertion that Ms Gannon had been guilty of either dangerous riding or careless riding.
  5. The Panel found that although HOME AGAIN did suffer interference and there was some loss of momentum, that throughout the incident, as Hardie agreed, he did not stop riding, and following the interference HOME AGAIN failed to respond.
  6. The Panel were satisfied that SWEET TABOO (IRE) had not improved its placing as a result of the interference as it was always going the better of the two horses and won by ½ length.
  7. The Panel therefore dismissed Brown’s appeal and confirmed the placings.  It ordered the deposit to be returned.

Lydia Pearce

  1. On 16 July 2015 the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry into an alleged breach of Rule (A)29.1 of the Rules of Racing by the trainer Mrs Lydia Pearce. This case arose by virtue of the fact that CAPTAIN NAVARRE, trained by Mrs Pearce, had been administered an intra-articular corticosteroid (contrary to Schedule (B)3 paragraph 11A) on the fourteenth day prior to the Park Hill Private Hospital Maiden Stakes and that Mrs Pearce knew that the gelding was not qualified to run when she caused it to start in the race.
  2. The Panel considered written submissions from Mrs Pearce.
  3. On 27 March 2015 members of the BHA’s Veterinary and Equine Welfare teams had attended Mrs Pearce’s yard for out of competition testing.  Mrs Pearce and her husband Mr Jeffrey Pearce (who is the assistant trainer at the yard) were present.  The medication records had showed that CAPTAIN NAVARRE had been administered with the corticosteroid triamcinolone acetonide (Adcortyl®) on 14 March 2015 (the “Administration”).  The gelding had subsequently run at Doncaster on 28 March 2015.
  4. Schedule (B)3 paragraph 11A (which sets out the requirements for a horse to run in a race in Great Britain) stipulates that “The horse must not have been administered any intra-articular corticosteroid on the day of the race or on any of the fourteen days before the day of the race in which the horse is declared to run”.  The Administration had taken place on the fourteenth day before the day of the Race.  As a result, the BHA had stated that the gelding should be disqualified from the Race under Rule (A)74, Ground 4.
  5. Having established that CAPTAIN NAVARRE was not qualified to run, the BHA had investigated whether Mrs Pearce had knowledge of the Administration prior to the gelding running in the race.
  6. On 13 and 14 May 2015 BHA Investigating Officers had attended Mrs Pearce’s yard.  Mrs Pearce was explained the nature of the investigation, Mr Pearce was also present at this time.  The BHA had obtained a copy of the clinical records for the gelding from Rossdales Veterinary Surgeons.  In these clinical records the following entries are recorded for the gelding on 14 March 2015: (i) “Inject joint, Left and right front fetlocks” and (ii) “Adcortyl injection”.
  7. Mrs Pearce had confirmed that the entry for the Administration in the yard medication records was correct.  Mrs Pearce also stated that her veterinary surgeon had performed the Administration and completed the entry in the records.
  8. Mrs Pearce had stated that it was her decision to have her veterinary surgeon administer the gelding with Adcortyl.  She had explained that this was due to the horse “hanging slightly during his races”.  Mrs Pearce had stated that “the Horse’s teeth had been tested and he had been tested by the physio but continued to have the same problem and therefore she tried to help the horse by giving him some joint medication to try to alleviate any possible stiffness that it might have”.  She had explained that he is “a horse with a high action so he does thump the ground a bit” and therefore it was thought that the medication might ease the buffer to the horse’s joints.
  9. Mrs Pearce had explained that the gelding’s problem had been discussed a number of times after his races and there was no particular reason for the date of the administration of Adcortyl.  Mrs Pearce could not remember what advice she had received about stand-down periods or the route of administration from the veterinary surgeon but Mr Pearce had been present during discussions and recalled that they had been advised of a “14 day withdrawal period”.
  10. Mrs Pearce had stated that she was not aware of the Rule in question but got most of her knowledge on updates in the Rules from the internet or “letters come through”.  Mrs Pearce had stated that it was “purely a mistake” and that there was no intention.  Mr Pearce had stated that it was an oversight.  Mr Pearce had also stated that he had only found out about the Rule the day before the Interview.  The Panel noted that the following documentation would have been available to Mrs Pearce (who is a NTF registered member):

a. BHA notice on 14 day Stand Down from Racing published in November 2014;
b. NTF published newsletter in December 2014; and
c. The notice on the NTF Muse website on 21 November 2014.

  1. The Panel noted that an e-mail had been sent to veterinary practices to highlight the Rule on 21 November 2014 and Mr Pearce had admitted that the veterinary surgeon had informed them about a “14 day withdrawal period”.  The BHA had set out clearly in the notice published in November 2014 that it is a mandatory 14 day “stand-down period” (not a “14 day withdrawal period”) and this applied even if the corticosteroid was no longer detectable in a horse’s system.
  2. The Panel found Mrs Pearce in breach of Rule (A)29.1 and imposed a fine of £1,000.  Finally, CAPTAIN NAVARRE was disqualified from the race under Rule (A)74 Ground 4, placing MR CRIPPS second, KING OF NORMANDY (FR) third and SONNOLENTO (IRE) fourth.

Robert Stephens and Vitor Santos

Jockey Vitor Santos was found in breach of Rule (B)59.2 of the Rules of Racing in that he intentionally failed to ride CHANTECLER on its merits in the Bet toteplacepot Handicap Stakes at Chelmsford City on 17 June 2015, and suspended for 70 days. Trainer Robert Stephens was found not in breach of Rule (C)45 in the same race.

The Disciplinary Panel’s full written reasons from this hearing will follow in due course.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Panel for the first two hearings was: Philip Curl (Chair), Jeremy Barlow, Roger Bellamy.

2. The Panel for the Robert Stephens and Vitor Santos enquiry was: Tim Charlton (Chair), Philip Curl, Roger Bellamy.