BHA statement following Declan Lavery Appeal

21 Mar 2019 BHA Features Disciplinary

The BHA accepts the findings of the independent Disciplinary Panel in today’s appeal hearing.

It is the view of the BHA that the Rules should be a proactive and preventative measure to avoid horses being put into a position of avoidable risk, and the stewards on the day acted in accordance with this. However, the finding of the Disciplinary Panel was that the current construct of the Rules indicate that the rider was not in breach of Rule (D)45.3.2. We will await their written reasons before commenting further on this issue.

Stewards have to make immediate decisions in the midst of a sporting event. That is why an independent appeals process exists which offers a fair process for challenging stewarding decisions. A range of incidents happened during this race which the stewards had to consider. The other decisions have not been challenged at appeal.

The Panel were also clear that the requirement of the Rules to pull up tired horses has primacy over the requirement to achieve the best possible placing, and that it is no justification to continue on a horse to finish placed in a race if doing so would be contrary to the horse’s welfare.

This rule is 20 years old and was agreed by all groups in our sport who are represented on our Rules Committee. It has been invoked a number of times in recent years. It continues to be an important rule that demonstrates our commitment to protect the welfare of our horses.

We thank Mr Lavery for the way he has conducted himself since the incident, and also trainer of the horse Philip Hobbs.

Notes to editors:

  1. The relevant Rule in question can be viewed here.