Result of an appeal (L Morris) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Friday 11 March
The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on 11 March 2016 considered an appeal lodged by Luke Morris, the rider of APACHE GLORY (USA), unplaced in the Coral Handicap Stakes on 5 March 2016, against the decision of the Stewards at Lingfield Park, to find him in breach of Rule (D)45.3 of the Rules of Racing in that he had continued in the race when it was contrary to the mare’s welfare to do so and to suspend him from riding for 5 days.
Luke Morris was present and gave evidence to the Panel. He was represented by Rory Mac Neice who also made submissions to the Panel. The BHA was represented by Lyn Williams. The Panel also viewed recordings of the race.
Although local Stewards had made their enquiry on the basis of a breach of Rule (D)45.3, the BHA proceeded at the Appeal (which is a re-hearing) on the basis of a breach of Rule (D)45.1.1 on the basis that Morris failed to ride his horse throughout the race in such a way that he was seen to have made a genuine attempt to obtain from his horse timely, real and substantial efforts to achieve the best possible placing.
The Panel having watched the race and heard Morris, accepted his evidence that he asked the horse for real effort on several occasions with no response at around the six furlong marker. Over the next two furlongs he sought to obtain from his horse timely, real and substantial efforts to obtain the best possible placing. Despite these efforts, Morris did not see any improvement and became worried that the mare was bleeding. He had won on her seven days previously and considered something was ‘not right’ on this run; her performance and responsiveness was substantially different.
Consequently, at the four furlong marker, Morris leant forward to check the mare’s nose for any sign of bleeding. He saw none and satisfied himself regarding the horse’s welfare. Checking the horse caused Morris to lose significant ground and by the time he came to re-engage he was 20 to 30 lengths back and out of the race. In those circumstances, Morris decided to ease up on the horse and hacked her back to the finish line at her own pace to ensure she did not suffer an unnecessary injury. The Panel felt that Morris had attempted to put the mare into the race and was justified in his concerns for her welfare. He had made real, timely and substantial effort after the six furlong marker and his ride complied with his obligations under the Rules of Racing.
Having carefully reviewed the evidence and considered the submissions from the BHA and Mr. Mac Neice, the Panel found that Morris had not breached Rule (D)45.1.1. It upheld the appeal and quashed the 5 day suspension. It returned the deposit.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Panel for the enquiry was: Matthew Lohn (Chair), Edward Dorrell, Ian Stark