Results of enquiries (F Ludlow, P D Evans, A Swinbank, M Hopkins) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 25 June
The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on Thursday 25 June 2015 held an enquiry to consider an objection to MINSTALAD and whether or not Miss Faye Ludlow, as the actual owner of MINSTALAD, had committed a breach of Regulation 91(i) of the BHA Regulations for Point-to-Point Steeple Chases in respect of the entering and running of MINSTALAD in the PPORA Club Members’ Race (for Novice Riders) at the Quorn Hunt Point-to-Point at Garthorpe on 25 April 2015, in the incorrect ownership of Miss L Sutcliffe.
Having considered the evidence, the Panel found that at entry Mr Alwyne Fradley (Miss Ludlow’s partner and the registered keeper of the gelding) confirmed that Miss Sutcliffe was the owner and that the horse was qualified to run, when in fact Miss Sutcliffe, who was not a PPORA Club Member, was no longer the owner, having sold MINSTALAD to Miss Ludlow in January 2015.
The Panel accepted an admission from Miss Ludlow that she was in breach of Regulation 91(i) and imposed a fine of £150 upon her. Under Regulation 131(iv), the Panel disqualified MINSTALAD from the race, placing DREAM GARDEN first, MURPHYS PROMISE (IRE) second, PACO JACK (IRE) third and DEFYING GRAVITY (IRE) fourth.
P D Evans
The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA on Thursday 25 June 2015 held an enquiry to establish whether or not P D Evans, a licensed trainer, had committed a breach of Rule (C)12 of the Rules of Racing concerning his failure to check the identity of SWEET TABOO (IRE) and PITY CASH (IRE) from the markings shown in the fillies’ respective passports as soon as they came into his care. The matter was reported to the BHA by the Veterinary Officer on duty at Newbury on 17 April 2015 following her inability to be able to identify the filly presented to her as SWEET TABOO (IRE) from her markings, which also resulted in the filly being prevented from running.
The Panel accepted an admission from Evans that he was in breach of Rule (C)12. Evans’ written submission stated that the two fillies were checked by their passports and put in their respective stables last winter, but at some stage they were probably put into the wrong boxes by the stable lads and the mistake had gone unnoticed as both were small bay fillies.
The Panel imposed a fine of £850 upon him.
The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA held an enquiry on Thursday 25 June 2015 to consider whether or not Alan Swinbank, a licensed trainer, had committed a breach of Rule (C)17 of the Rules of Racing, in respect of his failure to notify the Racing Calendar Office, by noon five days before the horse’s next run, that IN FOCUS (IRE) had been gelded. IN FOCUS (IRE) had been gelded before the start of the 2014 season, but at no time subsequent to this date had the trainer carried out his responsibility to notify the Racing Calendar Office.
Having considered the evidence, the Panel accepted an admission from Swinbank that he was in breach of Rule (C)17 and fined him £100.
The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA on Thursday 25 June 2015 held an enquiry to consider whether or not Matthew Hopkins, a former holder of an Apprentice Jockey’s licence, had committed a breach of Rule (D)53.2 of the Rules of Racing, by virtue of the fact that, as a Professional Rider, he placed back bets with one or more Betting Organisations; and Rule (D)53.2, by virtue of the fact that, as a Professional Rider, he placed a lay bet with a betting organisation.
The Panel heard submissions from Mark Edmondson, who represented Matthew Hopkins and Stuart Tennant, who represented the BHA.
The Panel noted that Mr Hopkins admitted the breaches of Rule (D)53.2 both in respect of the back bets and the one lay bet, and found both breaches proved.
The BHA relied on the fact that Mr Hopkins between 28 January 2013 and 3 February 2014, during which period he was the holder of an Apprentice Jockey’s licence, he had placed 978 back bets on his Bet365 account and eight back bets and one lay bet on his Betfair account on 21 December 2012, underlining the number of bets and the period of time over which they were placed, whilst accepting that the bets were for small amounts and mostly unsuccessful. Furthermore, when seen in an informal interview on the 1 December 2014 Mr Hopkins denied betting on horses and specifically denied having a Bet365 account, although he was subsequently candid at a formal interview on 19 December 2014. The BHA, whilst sympathetic to Mr Hopkins’ gambling addiction and glad that he was now seeking help from Racing Welfare, pointed out that but for their investigation, Mr Hopkins gambling on horses would not have come to light.
The BHA pointed out that throughout the relevant period Mr Hopkins was fully aware of what he was doing, and that it was a breach of the Rules.
On behalf of Mr Hopkins, his solicitor Mr Edmondson, drew the Panel’s attention to the fact that Mr Hopkins was still only 21 years old and had been 19 when the breaches started. He pointed out that gambling had become an illness for Mr Hopkins, who at the time lacked guidance, and had found it only too easy to place small bets via his mobile phone.
Mr Edmondson referred to various references which indicated that Mr Hopkins had a talent for riding, wished to become a fully qualified jockey, and that any period of disqualification would prevent him from pursuing the only occupation he knew and was qualified for.
Mr Hopkins had given up gambling on horses in November 2014 and was now seeking counselling and support from Racing Welfare for his addiction.
Taking into account:
- the number of bets placed;
- the time period;
- that Mr Hopkins, as an apprentice jockey, was aware of the Rules, and indeed opened his Bet365 account five days before attending the Apprentice Jockey’s Continuation Course, and
- failed to be candid on the 1 December 2014 as to his involvement in gambling on horses
the Panel concluded the breaches were of a serious nature and justified a penalty significantly above the entry point.
The Panel therefore disqualified Mr Hopkins for three years from 25 June 2015 until 24 June 2018 inclusive.
Notes to editors:
1. The Panel for the enquiries was: Philip Curl (Chair), Celina Carter, Ian Stark.
2. The full notice regarding the Matthew Hopkins hearing can be seen here:https://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/notice-of-a-forthcoming-disciplinary-panel-hearing-matthew-hopkins/