03 Mar 1998 Pre-2014 Releases

No Further Enquiry By the Jockey Club

Published: 3 March 1998

Following the conclusion of the libel action brought by Jack and Lynda Ramsden and Kieren Fallon against Mirror Group Newspapers, the Stewards of the Jockey Club have considered the issues raised during the case.

The Jockey Club has decided that there are no grounds to hold a further enquiry into the running and riding of Top Cees in the Swaffham Handicap at Newmarket on 18th April 1995.

Christopher Foster, the Jockey Club’s Executive Director said today: “The Stewards have carefully considered all the relevant matters raised by the libel action. The case put the episode under detailed and very public scrutiny and the Stewards do not believe there is any merit in further investigating events which took place nearly three years ago.”

The Jockey Club considered in detail the practice of issuing private letters to individuals who have not breached the Rules of Racing. These letters, which are intended to improve standards of riding, are issued when the Jockey Club believes that riders are in danger of breaching the Rules of Racing. The letters are usually concerned with potential offences on such matters as the use of the whip, interference and Rule 151.

The Jockey Club considers the use of private letters to be an effective way of preventing breaches of the Rules of Racing.

Malcolm Wallace, Director of Regulation, said today: “We considered fully whether these letters should be made public. Having taken legal advice we decided not to make the letters public, because to do so would be unfair when the person concerned has not been found in breach of any rule. These letters are intended to prevent breaches of the rules and are a part of an educational process aimed at maintaining and improving standards.

“We believe that they contribute to a reduction in the number of suspensions and fines administered to licenced personnel. The public is not disadvantaged because the individual concerned has not been found in breach of any rule. Where there is a breach it is made public, as is the result of any disciplinary enquiry.”

The Jockey Club also considered comments made in court about the conduct of Stewards’ Secretaries.

An internal enquiry has established that there is no evidence of mis-conduct by any Stewards’ Secretary. Stewards’ Secretaries undergo regular training to ensure that they administer the Rules of Racing properly and that they are aware of their obligations to all licensed people. It is the job of Stewards’ Secretaries to act impartially and draw to the attention of racecourse stewards possible breaches of the rules. The racecourse stewards themselves then decide whether or not a breach has taken place and on any consequent penalty.

The Jockey Club has already made public its intentions regarding Rule 151, which relates to horses not being run on their merits (see notes below). The changes will come into effect from the start of the Flat Turf season on 26th March. When the new measures were announced in January, Christopher Hall, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee said; “These measures will go a long way towards ensuring that racing’s integrity is maintained whilst also improving protection for punters.”

Notes for Editors:

Rule 151 – Horses not being run on their merits

From the start of the Flat Turf season several new procedures and measures will be effective, they include:

  • When a horse wins a handicap or rating related race without having previously been placed (in the first four), an enquiry will be held automatically. The racecourse stewards will merely note what is said and forward the comments of the connections to Portman Square so that the riding of the horse in its earlier races can be reviewed in conjunction with the enquiry’s evidence.

  • The addition of a new sub-rule to Rule 151 which places the onus on the trainer to prove that he is also not in breach when a rider has been found in breach of the Rule. Under the revised Rule racecourse stewards will believe that the jockey was riding to instructions unless the trainer can satisfy them otherwise.

  • The recommended penalties for breaches of Rule 151 with regards to giving a horse an easy race and schooling or conditioning in public will be increased. The maximum penalty for giving a horse an easy race will be 21 days for a jockey and £3000 fine for a trainer, as well as an automatic 40 day suspension for the horse.

  • A change regarding the protocol for racecourse enquiries held under Rule 151. It is proposed that in future, rather than accept or record explanations, racecourse stewards will simply note the evidence and explanations put forward. This allows any enquiry held under Rule 151 to be subsequently re-opened more easily.