1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on 25 August 2016 held an enquiry to establish whether or not Godolphin Management Company Ltd (‘Godolphin), the owners of SKIFFLE, are in breach of Rule (A)39 of the Rules of Racing in that, being fully aware of and conversant with the Code of Conduct for Racehorse Owners’ Sponsorship (the ‘Code’) and the exclusivity arrangement in place for Investec across both days of the Derby Meeting, prior to the Investec Oaks at Epsom on 3 June 2016 the Chief Executive of Godolphin knowingly and deliberately breached the Code by:
(i) Instructing the attendant leading up SKIFFLE to wear a jacket carrying Godolphin’s own sponsor’s logo; and
(ii) prior to the rider mounting SKIFFLE in the parade ring, instructing the rider to remove the tape that had been put over Godolphin’s own sponsor’s logo by a BHA Official so as to ensure compliance with Investec’s exclusivity arrangements.
2. The Panel noted that the BHA have, on this occasion, decided against taking any disciplinary action against the trainer, Charlie Appleby and the rider, William Buick.
3. Prior to the enquiry, both parties had agreed that they had no objection to the Panel members sitting.
4. The BHA case was presented by Lyn Williams. Hugh Anderson, Managing Director (UK and Dubai) from Godolphin Management Co Ltd was in attendance.
5. Mr Williams stated that under the Racehorse Owners Sponsorship Code of Conduct, the Derby meeting at Epsom had exclusivity for the main sponsor on all branding sites. Notices were published in the Racing Calendar on 12 May 2016 and 26 May 2016 reminding owners that Investec had exercised their rights to exclusivity for the Investec Oaks, the Investec Coronation Cup and the Investec Derby. A further reminder was sent to owners on 31 May 2016 by Andrew Cooper, Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Epsom.
6. Mr Anderson admitted to Godolphin being in breach of Rule (A)39 and said that the action was not taken lightly but to raise a matter of legitimate concern to Godolphin. It is a matter of regret that this resulted in a disciplinary hearing but Godolphin fully respects and understands the position of the BHA. He hoped that the matter would lead to a change in approach with regard to sponsorship for racing but accepted that breaching the Rules of Racing was not necessarily the best way to effect change
7. The Panel accepted an admission from Godolphin Management Co Ltd that it was in breach of Rule (A)39. The Panel imposed a £15,000 fine as it was a pre-meditated and deliberate breach of the Rules.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Panel for the enquiry was: William Barlow (Chair), Diana Powles, Roger Bellamy