Following the decision of the Disciplinary Panel to uphold BHA’s objection regarding The Young Master’s qualification to run in the Badger Ales Trophy and to disqualify the horse from the race, and for Neil Mulholland to be found in breach of Rule (C)37, Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for BHA, said:
“Once it had been ascertained that the horse was not qualified to run in the race it was a straightforward matter that the horse should be disqualified. Any other course of action would have been contrary to the Rules and patently unfair to connections of the other runners in the race.
“It also then followed that Neil Mulholland had to be found in breach of the Rules as they are very clear that it is the trainer’s responsibility to ensure that a horse is qualified to run in any race.
“However, it is also evident that there were other issues at play here. Weatherbys has an IT system which is designed to alert trainers when they have entered a horse that is not qualified. While this does not override the trainer’s responsibility under the Rules, it is a service which BHA, via Weatherbys, provides to the industry and it is clear that that service did not work as it should on this occasion.
“Not only is this a service designed to assist trainers, but it is also part of our collective responsibility to connections of horses and punters to ensure that incidents such as this do not occur. The outcome of Saturday’s race is simply not satisfactory for the betting public.
“We are satisfied with the explanation provided by Weatherbys and that the coding error on the administration system has now been fixed. It is important that such an incident does not occur again. We also support Weatherbys’ decision to compensate the owner for the cost of their race day expenses.
“Separately BHA has made a decision to reassess The Young Master’s handicap mark based on the evidence of the Badger Ales Trophy. We have a duty to the sport as a whole, including punters and other horsemen, and that duty is not played out by not taking account of the form from Saturday’s race.
“We appreciate that this may be seen as a hard line by some, but we are confident that in the best interests of the sport it is the correct decision. It is borne out by other precedents of horses being disqualified – for example for taking the wrong course – then being reassessed off the back of these performances.
“All of the issues outlined here were available to the Disciplinary Panel for consideration and potential mitigation in determining the penalty imposed on Neil Mulholland.”
Notes to Editors
1. The fine of £250 imposed on Neil Mulholland by the Disciplinary Panel for the breach of Rule (C)37 was at the bottom of the suggested penalty range. The entry point for comparable offences is £500, with a range of £250 to £1,500.