Result of an enquiry (Clancy) and an appeal (Harris) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 17 September
The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry on Thursday 17 September 2015 to consider whether or not Shane Clancy, a stable employee registered with the Irish Turf Club (ITC) at the time of the alleged breach, has committed a breach of Rule (A)40 of the Rules of Racing in that on 9 March 2015 he committed a serious assault, namely Actual Bodily Harm, against another stable employee whilst present on Cheltenham Racecourse for the Cheltenham Festival, for which he was subsequently convicted and sentenced at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on 10 March 2015.
The Panel noted that Mr Clancy had been employed at the time by ITC licensed trainer Michael ‘Mouse’ Morris. Mr Morris had arrived in England on 8 March 2015 as he had a horse, namely DROMNEA (IRE) entered to run in the Chaps Restaurants Barbados Novices’ Handicap Steeple Chase at Cheltenham on 10 March 2015.
Mr Clancy had accompanied Mr Morris as his Stable Lad and had been staying at the Hunters Lodge accommodation on Cheltenham Racecourse with other stable staff present for the Cheltenham Festival. The Hunters Lodge was not open to members of the public. Pursuant to Rule (A)2, as an employee of Mr Morris, who was present at Cheltenham Racecourse as the trainer of a horse entered to run under the Rules, Mr Clancy had been bound by the Rules of Racing at all material times.
In the early hours of the morning on 9 March 2015, there had been serious incident at the Hunters Lodge involving Mr Clancy and David Porter, a stable employee of ITC licensed trainer Willie Mullins. Mr Clancy had assaulted Mr Porter by smashing a glass bottle to his head, causing significant injuries, including cuts to his arm, face and neck that had resulted in Mr Porter receiving hospital treatment of stitches to his wounds.
Racecourse Security Staff and Police had been called and Mr Clancy was arrested and taken into police custody. He had been charged with Actual Bodily Harm contrary to section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and remanded to appear at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on 10 March 2015. He had subsequently been convicted and the Magistrates had imposed a custodial sentence of 18 weeks which had been suspended for two years.
The Panel also noted that upon hearing of Mr Clancy’s involvement in the incident, Mr Morris had contacted the ITC and requested that Mr Clancy be removed from the register as his employee. Mr Clancy no longer is a registered stable employee of a trainer in Ireland.
The Panel, in his absence, accepted an admission from Mr Clancy that he was in breach of Rule (A)40 in that he had been convicted of a serious criminal offence which had occurred on the racecourse, where Mr Clancy was present in connection with his duties as a stable employee.
The Panel declared Mr Clancy to be an excluded person for a period of three years from 17 September 2015 to 16 September 2018 inclusive.
In arriving at this penalty the Panel took into account that:-
(i) The offence was unprovoked, whilst Mr Clancy was intoxicated in the presence of other stable staff;
(ii) The weapon used was a glass bottle which caused significant injury which needed hospital treatment; and
(iii) The Magistrates’ Court imposed a custodial sentence of 18 weeks, suspended for two years, which demonstrated the seriousness of this offence.
1.The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA on Thursday 17 September 2015 considered an appeal lodged by Shaun Harris, the trainer of FIRST SUMMER, against the decision of the Kempton Stewards on 9 September 2015 to find Harris in breach of Rule (C)45.4 of the Rules of Racing and fine him £3,000, and to suspend FIRST SUMMER from running for 40 days, in that he was guilty of conditioning the gelding. Jordan Nason, the rider of FIRST SUMMER did not appeal the decision to find him in breach of Rule (B)59.2 and to suspend him from riding for 14 days,
2. The Panel heard submissions from Lyn Williams, BHA Case Manager and Mr Roderick Moore who appeared on behalf of Harris. Harris gave evidence before the Panel.
3. The Panel reviewed the films from the race. The gelding was restrained and dropped out into last place at the opening of the race. Thereafter it made some progress after the cut-away travelling up the inside. In the final two furlongs of the race the Panel concluded there was no effort made by the jockey to improve his position. Nason’s hands remained static on the gelding’s neck and apart from the occasional slap down the gelding’s shoulder there was no sign of intent to obtain the best possible placing.
4. At the enquiry before the Kempton Stewards Nason said that the gelding had made a noise turning in and again after the finish. Nason also said he gave the gelding every opportunity with a hands and heels ride. In the Panel’s view this was not borne out on reviewing the films of the race.
5. The Panel concurred with the findings of the Kempton Stewards that Nason was in breach of Rule (B)59.2 in that he used the racecourse for conditioning FIRST SUMMER.
6. In reaching this view the Panel took account of the further evidence placed before it concerning the respiratory function of FIRST SUMMER. After the race Harris arranged for the gelding to undergo over ground endoscopy which demonstrated that FIRST SUMMER had complex upper respiratory tract disease.
7. On the day of the race there was no report given by Nason to the Clerk of the Scales about a breathing problem at the end of the race. Before the Kempton Stewards the noisy breathing was not relied on as an explanation for the run. In the Panel’s view the new evidence did not entitle Harris to suggest a new explanation for the gelding’s performance when the ‘noise’, as described by Nason on the day, was reported as having cleared after turning in.
8. The Panel then considered the instructions given to Nason for the purpose of Rule (C)45.5 and whether Nason had been given appropriate instructions and whether he failed to comply with them.
9. The Panel noted the evidence before the Kempton Stewards; Harris told Nason to drop in, get cover and make the best of his way home. On the day, having reviewed the race films again, Harris acknowledged that Nason gave the gelding a ride which accorded with his instructions. He acknowledged before the Kempton Stewards that Nason was trying “not to make it too hard for the gelding”, “it is his first run”.
10. Nothing in the evidence Harris gave before the Panel displaced its view that Nason had been given scant instructions.
11. Before the Panel, Harris changed his view as to Nason’s compliance with his instructions. He told the Panel that he had further reviewed the video of the race and said that Nason’s ride did not accord with his instructions in two key respects; first in that he dropped the gelding out, not in and secondly that when the wind problem emerged the gelding was not ridden out. The Panel accepted the first issue, but in its view it is of no real consequence as the race was not decided beyond doubt after FIRST SUMMER’s first two furlongs. What was key was how the gelding was ridden after the cut-away and as the Panel has already concluded the gelding’s performance at that stage was affected not by any respiratory disorder, but by the failure of Nason to give FIRST SUMMER a ride that accorded with the Rules. For this reason the Panel concluded that Harris failed to satisfy it that he had given appropriate instructions and moreover that Nason failed to comply with them. Therefore, Harris has not satisfied the provisions of Rule (C)45.5 and the Panel found him in breach of Rule (C)45.4.
12. The Panel concluded that as there were no aggravating or mitigating reasons to be found in this case, the correct approach was to apply the entry point penalty of £3,000 and confirm the 40 day suspension of FIRST SUMMER from Saturday 12 September 2015 until Wednesday 21 October 2015 inclusive.
13. Finally, since no evidence had been placed before the Panel that caused it to realistically question the original findings, the Panel directed that Harris’s deposit be forfeited.
Notes to editors:
1. The Panel for the hearings was: Lucinda Cavendish (Chair), Diana Powles, Roger Bellamy.