29 Mar 2010 Pre-2014 Releases

1.   The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry on 29 March 2010 to consider whether or not Mr David Reynolds, a part-owner of THE SCORCHING WIND (IRE), had committed a breach of Rules (A)30 and (A)32 of the Rules of Racing.  He was alleged to have punched Kieron Fallon,  the rider of ELNA BRIGHT and to have hit Mr Peter Crate, the registered Owner of ELNA BRIGHT, after the Sportingbet Support Heros ‘Super 7’ Handicap Stakes at Lingfield on 20 March 2010.

2.   Mr Reynolds admitted that he was in breach of both Rules, and the Panel heard some evidence from him as well as submissions from his legal representative, Graeme McPherson QC, about the appropriate penalties in the light of the admissions.

3.   There was no real dispute about the facts surrounding the assaults.  Mr Reynolds was part-owner of two horses in the race, and he had particularly high hopes for a victory for THE SCORCHING WIND (IRE), which was favourite.  About 5 furlongs from home, Neil Callan on EVERYMANFORMIMSELF attempted to prevent his horse from tightening runners inside.  Despite his efforts, his mount took Keiren Fallon on ELNA BRIGHT off his intended line, which in turn caused Ryan Moore on THE SCORCHING WIND (IRE) to be tightened against the rail.  Fallon’s horse was subsequently eased, having been struck into, and the incident effectively put paid to the chances of THE SCORCHING WIND (IRE).  When Fallon got back to the unsaddling enclosure, Mr Reynolds (who as an owner had privileged access to this area) pushed through and struck Fallon on the side of the face.  His next attempted hit landed a glancing blow on Mr Peter Crate, the owner of ELNA BRIGHT, who with his trainer Brett Johnson was trying to intervene to prevent Mr Reynolds from doing further damage.

4.   At the Stewards’ Enquiry which followed, Mr Reynolds accepted that he had hit both Fallon and Mr Crate, and recognised that what he had done was wrong.  He was prepared to apologise to Mr Crate and Johnson, but not to Fallon, with whom he was still furious.  He thought (wrongly, as careful analysis of the race shows) that Fallon was responsible for the interference that had put THE SCORCHING WIND (IRE) out of the race.

5.   A day later, Mr Reynolds looked at tapes of the race, and realised that the Lingfield Stewards had been correct in their assessment that the interference had been accidental and that in any event Fallon was blameless.  A few days later he began to try to get an apology through to Fallon via intermediaries and on 26 March 2010 a detailed letter of apology was transmitted by his solicitor to Fallon’s solicitor.  It included notice that he would be making a donation to the Injured Jockey’s Fund.

6.   The Panel was concerned to determine whether this contrition was genuine or tactical, and concluded it was genuine.  Fallon had ridden for him before, and Mr Reynolds admired him as a jockey and fellow Irishman.  Uncertain reports were given to the Panel about Fallon’s present response to the apologies.

7.   When assessing penalty, the Panel was asked to take into account both the apologies which Mr Reynolds has now given and the fact that the incident was out of character.  Mr Reynolds has no record, within or outside the racing environment, for violent behaviour.  His business success has enabled him to indulge his long standing enthusiasm for racing by owning a number of horses (currently 4) in partnership with his business associate Mr Watkins.  The Panel accepted that Mr Reynold’s outburst was out of character, and caused by his frustration over a race that he had long targeted for THE SCORCHING WIND (IRE).  He had had bets to win of less than £1,000, the Panel was told, so it is unlikely that their failure was a substantial motive for his conduct.  The Panel also took real account of the many testimonials it received to Mr Reynolds’ good character.

8.   But despite all these points in his favour, the Panel was nevertheless obliged to consider an appropriate response to an unpleasant, unprovoked assault which he was able to launch because he had privileged access to parts of the race course which ordinary racegoers do not have.  It was an incident which not only amounted to a breach of Rule (A)32 – which deals with violent conduct – but also of Rule (A)30, because the nature of his violent conduct does clearly prejudice the good reputation and proper conduct of horseracing, in part because of the poor publicity for the sport that this has caused.

9.   In all these circumstances, the Panel did not feel that it could deal with this matter by a fine alone.  Nobody should feel that they can continue to participate in racing by simply paying a fine as the price of such behaviour.  Mr Reynolds must pay a fine of £10,000 and he will be disqualified for a period of 3 months from Tuesday 6 April to Monday 5 July 2010.  However, the disqualification will not operate to prevent any dealings (whether concerning horseracing or otherwise) with his business and racing partner, Mr Watkins.

10. In reaching conclusions on penalty, the Panel got no real guidance from the recommendation for breach of Rule (A)32, which does not refer to the kind of case with which it is dealing .  While the entry point recommendation for a breach of Rule (A)30 is a fine of “£2,000 or suspend/withdraw/disqualify 3 months”, the Panel decided to impose a heavier fine and a period of disqualification because of the unacceptable nature of the incident in question.  The period of disqualification would have been longer but for Mr Reynolds’ genuine remorse and the fact that he had been, up until then, a person whose enthusiasm is what one wants to see in racing.

Notes for Editors:

The Disciplinary Panel for the hearing was: Tim Charlton QC (Chair), Patrick Hibbert-Foy and Sandra Arkwright

The effects of a disqualification are: not allowed to own horses, not allowed onto Licensed Premises (racecourses, training grounds, stables etc) and not allowed to speak to licensed individuals (ie trainers) about racing.

The Guideline Penalties for the two rules are:

(A)32     Violent conduct towards Stewards or Officials

Entry point of £5000 or suspend /disqualify for 3 months, with a range of £2,500 to £12,000 or 1 month to 1 year              

(A)32   Violent or Improper conduct between riders/trainers                               

Entry point of 4 days (rider) or £500 (trainer), with a range of 1 to 21 days and £100 to £1000

(A)30     Prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing

Entry point of £2,000 or Suspend / Disqualify 3 months, with a range of £1,000 – £10,000 or 1 month – 3 years