1. On 10 November 2016, the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) heard an appeal against the decision by the Doncaster Stewards, following an inquiry on 22 October 2016, to leave unaltered the placings of the first two horses home in the Sunbets.co.uk Download the App Handicap Stakes. LAURENCE, ridden by Ryan Moore, beat BANDITRY (IRE), ridden by William Buick, by a head. The Stewards held an inquiry in which they found that LAURENCE had ducked sharply right to carry BANDITRY (IRE) off its intended line and the interference had not improved LAURENCE’s placing. They ordered the placings to remain unaltered as the interference caused by LAURENCE was minimal and did not affect the result.
2. Prior to the enquiry, both parties had agreed that they had no objection to the Panel members sitting. Mr Ian Williams presented his appeal and Lyn Williams represented the BHA. Evidence was given by Mr Moore and Mr Buick via telephone as both were overseas.
3. At the appeal, there was no dispute about the bare facts of what happened in the race. Two furlongs out, LAURENCE began to deliver a challenge on the outside, and was about three lengths adrift of the then leader and a number of other horses on his inside. Mr Buick on BANDITRY (IRE) was tracking Mr Moore on LAURENCE at this point, and positioned directly behind him, a little more than 1½ lengths adrift of LAURENCE.
4. By the furlong marker, BANDITRY (IRE) was still about 1½ lengths adrift of LAURENCE, who had moved into a share of the lead. Both horses were under strong pressure from their riders. But BANDITRY (IRE) then began to make ground on LAURENCE, and in the next 50 yards the distance between them was just under one length. At this stage, Mr Moore’s horse LAURENCE ducked sharply right and carried BANDITRY (IRE) off his line. (Mr Moore attributed this manoeuvre to his horse being distracted by the route to the stables, and it was accepted on all sides that this was accidental interference). The manoeuvre, though accidental, was pronounced and LAURENCE moved about four horses width to his right. Mr Buick had to take back and check his mount.
5. The immediate effect on BANDITRY (IRE) was a loss of momentum and a loss of position relative to LAURENCE. From having been just under a length down on LAURENCE, BANDITRY (IRE) found himself about 1¼ lengths adrift. Furthermore, the recordings of the race showed to the Panel that Buick on BANDITRY (IRE) was checked and had to take a pull for two strides, and then took some further four or five strides to rebalance and deliver a renewed challenge. These were, in the Panel’s view, consequences of the accidental interference.
6. For the remainder of the race to the finishing post, BANDITRY (IRE) made up ground on LAURENCE and was beaten by a diminishing head – i.e. about 12 inches. Just 10 yards past the post, BANDITRY (IRE) was well past LAURENCE.
7. When evaluating the effect of the interference on BANDITRY (IRE), the Panel was persuaded that it cost BANDITRY (IRE) the race. The incident not only cost BANDITRY (IRE) a quarter of length at a crucial juncture of the race but also momentum and balance. And the eventual margin of defeat was some 12 inches, with BANDITRY (IRE) finishing notably the stronger.
8. The Panel therefore upheld the appeal and ordered the placings to be reversed, placing BANDITRY (IRE) first and LAURENCE second.
9. The deposit posted by Mr Williams was of course returned to him in light of his success.
1. On 10 November 2016, the Disciplinary Panel of the BHA heard an appeal brought by the trainer Sylvester Kirk against a fine of £140 imposed upon him by the Windsor Stewards for late notification of the withdrawal of his filly HARMONY BAY (IRE) from the 2.20p.m. race at Windsor on 17 October 2016.
2. Prior to the enquiry, both parties had agreed that they had no objection to the Panel members sitting. Mr Kirk presented his appeal in person, and Lyn Williams represented the BHA.
3. The relevant Rules are found in Schedule (F)7. In brief they require trainers to make immediate notification that a horse declared to run will be a non-runner. Where a horse has not reached the racecourse, the trainer must without delay inform the Racing Calendar Office if his horse is withdrawn.
4. Mr Kirk’s appeal seemed to have been motivated largely by a sense of annoyance with the Stipendiary Steward, Chris Rutter, following some exchanges they had about this matter on 17 October. The Panel did not feel that this had any relevance for the question it had to decide – i.e. did Mr Kirk give immediate notice of his withdrawal of HARMONY BAY (IRE).
5. But it was important to recall that the appeal operates as a rehearing, at which the BHA must prove its case against Mr Kirk.
6. Whatever evidence may have been before the Stewards at Windsor, this Panel was not presented with a clear picture by anybody of just when Mr Kirk decided to withdraw the filly. Notice of the withdrawal was given at 13.03 hours by email. He withdrew her, he said, because she was found to be sore when she came to be boxed up to go to Windsor. When was that? On one view of the travel time from his stables to Windsor (which was accepted by the BHA), this could have been as late as 12.55 hours on 17 October (i.e. 8 minutes before the time of the email notifying withdrawal). If the time gap was 8 minutes, the Panel did not interpret that as a breach by Mr Kirk.
7. Though the Panel was told by Mr Williams that Mr Rutter and Mr Kirk had spoken on the day and that Mr Rutter was informed that the decision to withdraw had been taken earlier, there was no actual evidence from Mr Rutter or anyone else on this. So the BHA did not establish a time gap between the decision to withdraw and notice of this which amounted to a breach of the Schedule (F)7 requirements.
8. The Panel therefore allowed Mr Kirk’s appeal and ordered the return of his deposit.
Rule (C)17 breaches:
The Disciplinary Panel of the BHA held an enquiry on 10 November 2016 to consider whether or not a number of trainers had committed breaches of Rule (C)17 of the Rules of Racing, in respect of their failure to notify the Racing Calendar Office, by noon 5 days before the horse’s next run, that their horses had been gelded.
Prior to the enquiry, all the trainers had agreed that the matters could be heard in their absence as all of them either admitted the breach or did not contest it. Also, the BHA and the trainers agreed that they had no objection to the Panel members sitting. The BHA’s cases were presented by Lauren Robinson and Lyn Williams.
Having considered the evidence, the Panel found the trainers in breach of Rule (C)17 and fined the following:
Keith Dalgleish – TAXMEIFYOUCAN (IRE) – £200
Edward Dunlop – SPORTING TIMES – £200
Nigel Hawke – LAKE PLACID – £200
Peter Hedger – MR MAC – £100
Philip McBride – FOUR CANDLES – £100
Gary Moore – KEIBA (IRE) – £100
Paul Nicholls – PILANSBERG – £200
Brendan Powell – PHOENIX DAWN – £200
Nigel Twiston-Davies – UNBLINKING – £200
The Panel noted that Messrs Mr Hedger, Mr McBride and Mr Moore had made notifications before their horses had reached the racecourse, but after declarations, and it was for this reason that a lower fine was imposed in their cases.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Panel for the enquiries was: Tim Charlton QC (Chair), William Barlow and Roger Bellamy