BHA statement regarding Hughie Morrison result

22 Dec 2017 BHA Features Disciplinary

Regarding the decision of the independent Disciplinary Panel to find trainer Hughie Morrison in breach of Rule (G)2.1 of the Rules of Racing and impose a £1,000 fine, Jamie Stier, Chief Regulatory Officer for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said:

“Racing is based on fair play and respect for the rules. That’s how we earn the trust and confidence of the participants and all those who watch or bet on our sport, without whom there would be no racing industry.

“British racing has a zero-tolerance policy towards the use of anabolic steroids, which are proven to help performance in sport. We must have a level playing field with integrity. We must protect the welfare of our animals.

“The rules are clear that it is the trainer’s responsibility to prevent horses taking part in our sport with prohibited substances in their system. It is important, therefore, that the trainer in this case has accepted he was in breach of the Rules of racing, and that the Disciplinary Panel has confirmed that, as the responsible person, Mr Morrison is in breach of the Rules.

“As was set out in our opening submissions, the BHA had no positive case to put to any individual witness because the BHA could not say who administered the anabolic steroid to the horse. However, it was the BHA’s case that Mr Morrison’s assertion that this was a malicious act by someone completely outside of his control is unlikely. It was not the BHA’s case that the administration of the substance ‘must have been done by Mr Morrison or somebody at his direction’.

“We respect the Panel’s decision, the Rules of racing have been upheld and the matter of penalty is a matter wholly for the Disciplinary Panel to determine.

“The Panel also confirmed that the BHA ‘properly ran the case’. They found that it was not the duty of the BHA to protect Mr Morrison, that the attacks on the adequacy and good faith of the BHA’s investigation ‘wholly failed’ and, with one exception, criticism of the BHA’s conduct was misplaced.

“The one exception related to the fact that a hair sample was not taken. We would like to take the opportunity to explain more fully why this was the case. The BHA has always said that we would not use hair sampling as primary evidence until such point as there is international agreement and also full accreditation. Until that happens, hair samples are not accepted as regulatory samples, which limits our ability to use them in disciplinary cases. Therefore, it would not have been appropriate for the BHA to rely on hair sampling as part of its evidence in this case. Had we done so, it would have been open to challenge.

“We now await the Panel’s full written reasons before we can comment further on this matter.”