BHA sets out response to December’s High Court ruling

10 Feb 2022 BHA Features Disciplinary

The BHA has today set out its response to the ruling in December of the High Court in favour of Freddy Tylicki, which was brought following catastrophic injuries he suffered in a fall at Kempton Park in October 2016. Following the judge’s ruling, the BHA obtained transcripts of the proceedings, which have been reviewed in detail, and held discussions with industry stakeholders in order to consider what implications there may be for the sport as a result of the judgment. StewardingDue to the significant reforms of British racing’s stewarding model and processes which have taken place since 2016, the BHA is satisfied that the High Court has not identified any further actions that must be taken as a result of this ruling beyond those which have already taken place or are already committed to. The reforms since 2016 have included:

  • A transition from a majority amateur panel quorum model to a majority professional panel quorum model of stewarding in Britain;
  • Mandatory competency-based training, developed externally in collaboration with legal training experts, has been introduced for all stewards;
  • State-of-the-art technology introduced on course that allows for more enhanced analysis of races;
  • Updated guidance provided to stewards as part of the competency-based training on enquiry procedure, and specifically regarding the adjournment of enquiries where material witnesses are unable to be present.

Work is already underway, following the adoption of the new Rules of Racing in 2019, to review British racing’s sanctions framework and guidance. This work will address the full range of sanctions, including those for interference, and discussions with stakeholders have already begun on this process.

During the hearing, it was suggested that there exists an informal code of conduct, whereby jockeys do not “get too involved or [say] too much… try to stay as neutral as possible” when giving evidence to stewards following a race. Evidence given by Jockeys during enquiries is just one piece of the evidence stewards are required to carefully consider and weigh against all other evidential material. Experienced and trained Stewards objectively undertake this task and make decisions based on the required standard at every fixture every day. The BHA is committed to furthering the professional development of all stewards in line with international best practice, enabling them to develop the skills required to hear, test, interrogate where appropriate, and balance all evidence given in enquiries.Further implications

Away from stewarding, it is considered that there could be implications for jockeys’ insurance arising from this ruling, something the BHA and PJA have met to discuss.

The BHA has committed to supporting the PJA in whatever way necessary in their discussions with their insurer, in particular by providing whatever material they may need to demonstrate the level of risk mitigation that is now in place in British racing. It is essential for all sectors of our sport that jockeys are provided with adequate cover to allow them to compete.

Such risk mitigation includes the introduction of saliva testing in 2021, whereby oral swabs are used to provide on-the-day screening for cocaine and a range of other banned substances at racecourses. Over 900 saliva samples were taken in 2021.

Saliva testing is designed to be used in addition to breath and urine testing, which is capable of detecting a broad range of substances. Raceday saliva and breath tests act as a preliminary screen, and any jockey who does not test negative on raceday is stood down from riding that day, as well as being subject to further investigation.

Funding has also been made available by the Levy Board for hair sampling to become a mandatory element of any jockey’s licensing process in the future, as part of a widening of the matrices used to test for prohibited substances.

The BHA would like to thank all of those who have contributed to discussions on the topic of this ruling in the last month and would also like to place on record once again its very best wishes for the future for Freddy Tylicki and his family.