Commenting on the outome of the Disciplinary Panel hearing into breaches of the Rules of Racing by licensed trainer Laura Young, Professor Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare for the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“Following the detection of Tranexamic Acid, a prohibited substance, in a sample of urine taken from STRATEGIC PLAN (FR) at Plumpton 23 March 2009, the BHA set in motion investigations to ascertain how STRATEGIC PLAN (FR) had come to test positive for this substance. During the course of those investigations, certain serious issues relating to the manner in which STRATEGIC PLAN (FR) had been trained by Laura Young prior to the gelding’s run at Plumpton came to light. In particular, it emerged that Mrs Young had severely limited the gelding’s access to water for a period in excess of 48 hours prior to the race at Plumpton in an attempt to dehydrate the gelding and stop him from bleeding as he had done on previous occasions.
“At the conclusion of our investigations, the BHA charged Mrs Young with four breaches of the Rules of Racing. The first and second breaches (of Rules 51 and 220(iii) of the Rules of Racing) related to Mrs Young’s mis-treatment of the gelding in the days prior to 23 March 2009 (‘the welfare charges’). The third and fourth breaches (of Rules 53 and 200 of the Rules of Racing) related to the positive sample taken from STRATEGIC PLAN (FR) on 23 March 2009 (‘the prohibited substance charges’).
“Each of the charges Mrs Young faced were serious breaches of the Rules of Racing. However, the welfare charges were, in my view, particularly serious. The welfare of horses – whether in training or when racing – is of paramount importance to the BHA, and it will not countenance conduct on the part of any licensed individual which compromises or potentially compromises the welfare of horses.
“Shortly before the commencement of the Enquiry at which the charges were to be considered by the Disciplinary Panel, Mrs Young admitted each of the welfare charges. In particular, Mrs Young admitted that, by limiting the gelding’s access to water as she had in the days before his race at Plumpton on 23 March 2009,
– She had acted in a manner which demonstrated a lack of reasonable care on her part in her training of STRATEGIC PLAN (FR) and a failure on her part to have due regard for the well-being of STRATEGIC PLAN (FR), and
– She had been guilty of conduct on her part was conduct that was prejudicial to the good conduct of horseracing.
“Mrs Young accepted that her conduct which had given rise to the welfare charges amounted to a serious breach of the Rules of Racing.
“The BHA submitted to the Disciplinary Panel that, in light of the gravity of Mrs Young’s conduct in respect of the welfare charges, the appropriate penalty to be imposed on her was one of a substantial period of disqualification from racing and the imposition of further conditions. The Disciplinary Panel agreed, and they imposed a 6 month period of disqualification on Mrs Young and directed that she should attend a course of re-education on equine husbandry. The Disciplinary Panel gave Mrs Young 72 hours to have removed from her yard those horses that are presently in training with her but directed that she be permitted to take a job in racing in a suitably supervised position. These conditions are subject to our review and oversight.
“In light of the acceptance by Mrs Young on the welfare charges and the imposition of the sanction of a substantial period of disqualification with conditions on Mrs Young in respect of those charges in relation to the events around the running of STRATEGIC PLAN (FR) at Plumpton 23 March 2009, , the BHA did not pursue the charge of administering a prohibited substance as a matter of pragmatism. “