BHA statement regarding the George Gently case

11 Mar 2024 BHA Features

In response to the independent Judicial Panel publishing the written reasons in the case involving Mr Dan Skelton and the horse George Gently, the BHA has issued the following statement:

The independent Disciplinary Panel has today published details of a fast-track procedure which resulted in a £6,000 fine for Mr Dan Skelton concerning two admitted breaches of the Rules of Racing relating to the sale of George Gently (IRE) in 2016.

Mr Skelton admitted two breaches of the Rules. It was this admission of breaches, along with an agreement on penalty from both parties, that led to this case being resolved via the fast-track procedure and the BHA is satisfied with this outcome.

The fine, which is above the entry point for an offence of this nature, is significant, as is the acceptance of these serious breaches by Mr Skelton. The resolving of this case via fast-track does not reduce the seriousness and merely reflects the two sides being in agreement on breach and penalty. By using the fast-track route, and in publishing its detailed assessment of the case, the Disciplinary Panel has ensured that the proper scrutiny can still be applied.

We recognise that this case has had a significant personal impact on Mr Skelton and his family and understand why he was anxious to issue a statement on the Panel’s findings at the weekend.

We acknowledge that the length of time that elapsed during this case is far from ideal for all concerned. The BHA always works to resolve matters as swiftly as possible but in this case, as well as acknowledging some delay on the BHA’s side, significant other factors impacted the length of time this has taken.

Proceedings were stayed in 2022, with the agreement of Mr Skelton, while a civil case was pursued. This was done so that the investigation did not interfere with the civil case, and also to allow the BHA to understand the outcome, which ultimately came in July 2023.

Following the conclusion of the civil proceedings, the BHA had to amend its case and add a charge in relation to misleading conduct. This added further delay in bringing the case to resolution.

As is always the case, the BHA will consider all of the relevant factors that led to this case playing out as it did to understand what, if any, improvements can be made to our regulatory processes.