BHA statement regarding Jim Best and Paul John

04 Apr 2016 Disciplinary Integrity

Today, the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority issued penalties to Jim Best and Paul John for their part in failing to ensure that two horses, Echo Brava and Missile Man, ran to their merits, in accordance with the Rules of Racing.

Adam Brickell, Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said:

“The case against Jim Best and Paul John concerned an issue that cannot be tolerated in British racing – the exploitation of a vulnerable young jockey by his employer in order to coerce him into breaking the Rules of our sport to gain an unfair advantage.

“As Paul John has admitted, he should not have committed the offences that he has, and for which he has been penalised. The BHA is grateful to him for subsequently admitting his part in the case and for explaining the reasons for his actions, as this has helped to reveal the full extent of Jim Best’s breach of the Rules in these two cases. The Disciplinary Panel stated that Paul John deserves significant credit for his actions in distancing himself from Mr Best, seeking guidance from the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and admitting the truth of the events, and the 50% reduction they have applied to his penalty reflects this.

“It is the responsibility of any trainer to act as guide and mentor to young jockeys who are attached to their yard. No trainer can be allowed to abuse that relationship by pressurising jockeys to breach the Rules and this is reflected in the sanctions incurred by Jim Best. In the words of the Disciplinary Panel, Jim Best’s behaviour was reprehensible, and an abuse of the privilege of holding a licence to train racehorses.

“We would encourage any jockey who finds themselves in a similar situation to Paul John to seek assistance before they feel compelled to commit breaches of the Rules of Racing. Support is available from both the BHA and the PJA and any rider raising such issues would be met with full understanding and be offered every assistance to prevent them being drawn into actions which could jeopardise their future career.

“The recent BHA Integrity Review confirmed that education remains a central part of the BHA’s long-term approach to integrity. As we further increase our focus on this aspect of our work, we will aim to provide additional help to those who find themselves in a similar position to Paul John.”

Notes to Editors:

1. The Disciplinary Panel’s full penalty findings and written reasons can be found here: