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Enquiries (K. Shoemark, E.Greatrex, M. Godwin) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Thursday 26 October 2017

Horses

Press Release

30 October 2017

Kieran Shoemark

1. On 26 October 2017, the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry into whether or not Kieran Shoemark had committed a breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 of the Rules of Racing in respect of his use of the whip when riding YELLOWHAMMER in the 32Red/Stallions Breeding Winners EBF Fillies’ Handicap Stakes  (Class 4) at Kempton Park on Wednesday 18 October 2017. 

2. The matter was referred to the Panel by the Stewards at Kempton Park because it was Mr Shoemark’s fifth offence of misuse of the whip, warranting a suspension of between 2 and 6 days, in the preceding 6 months. 

3. Mr Shoemark attended today’s hearing in person and was represented by Mr Rory Mac Neice. The BHA’s case was presented by Miss Lauren Robinson, BHA Case Manager, and there was no objection taken to the constitution of the Panel. 

4. At the beginning of the hearing, Mr Shoemark admitted that he was in breach of the Rule. That accords with his candid admission to the Kempton Park Stewards that he “hit (the horse) nine times, obviously. It took the team about five minutes to get the horse into the stalls….she was very mulish…we all expected her to win and I sort of panicked probably a furlong and a half out. I was not going as well as I hoped. She just took forever to get there and I think that unless I hit her nine times, which I agree is against the Rules, I don’t think I would have won”. 

5. Mr Shoemark’s frankness does him credit. His description of the race in which YELLOWHAMMER, the 5/2 Favourite, won by only a nose is consistent with the Racing Post report. It also accords with the view of this Panel although we would not go so far as to say that the horse would or might not have won had Mr Shoemark stayed within the whip Rules. 

6. The Panel viewed various video recordings of the race. We find that Mr Shoemark was indeed in breach of the Rules in that he used his whip on 9 occasions within the last 2 furlongs. We also find that when he first asked his horse for an effort, he did so with hands and heels but then used the whip in the right forehand before pulling it through as the horse hung and using it, again in the forehand, in his left hand, before putting it down before the line. 

7. We consider that the BHA was correct to accept and Mr Mac Neice right to submit that, had this whip offence stood alone, it would be an appropriate exercise of the discretion under page 23 of the Guide to Procedures and Penalties 2017 to treat this as a case of exceeding by one the limit of seven which governs the use of the whip in a Flat race: hence the offence on its own would have merited a two-day suspension. 

8. Mr Mac Neice made a number of points in mitigation. He submitted, correctly, that, Mr Shoemark has had well above the average number of rides in that he has had 405 rides between 19 April and 18 October 2017. Further, during the relevant period within which previous suspensions for whip offences have occurred (beginning 3 May 2017), Mr Shoemark has had 389 rides as compared with the 250 or so rides which might be regarded as typical. That supports a submission that whereas one might, on average, expect a whip offence to be committed in one in 50 rides, Mr Shoemark is better than average in that he is offending at a rate of one in 77. 

9. In the view of the Panel, the above is of limited relevance although it does provide some background to the approach we should take in the instant case. However, we certainly do accept that it is relevant that Mr Shoemark has had far more than the average number of rides and that the whip offences extend back over about 5½ months. It is also relevant and material that he has only one previous offence for which he has received a four-day suspension among the others committed in the last 6 months. We also take account of the fact that, in the particular circumstances of this case, his horse was responding to pressure and that the jockey was not (for example) using the whip when his horse was beaten or without first trying to encourage it to go forward with hands and heels. 

10. Paragraph 11 of the Guide provides that the Disciplinary Panel will “usually impose a suspension of ... 14-42 days ... with an entry point of 21 days.” 

11.In the judgment of the Panel, this case merits a suspension which is below the entry point penalty of 21 days but not very far below it. The suspension we impose is one of 18 days of which one third will be deferred for 2 months. The initial suspension will run from Friday 3 November to Monday 20 November 2017 inclusive, on days on which Flat racing is scheduled, and the further 6 days will be deferred to 20 January 2018.

 

Edward Greatrex 

1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on 26 October 2017 held an enquiry to establish whether or not Edward Greatrex, the rider of DOCTOR BONG, placed second in the Watch Racing UK on BT TV Handicap (Class 6) at Kempton Park on 14 October 2017, was in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 of the Rules of Racing in that he used his whip above the permitted level.  The matter was referred to the BHA Head Office by the Stewards at Kempton Park following an enquiry on the same day because this was Mr Greatrex’s fifth offence of mis-use of the whip, warranting a suspension of between 2 to 6 days, in the last 6 months. 

2. Mr Greatrex attended in person and was represented by Mr Rory Mac Neice.  The BHA was represented by Mr Lyn Williams.  There was no objection from any party to the participation of the members of the Panel in this case. 

3. Both at Kempton Park, and today at the enquiry, the breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 was admitted by Mr Greatrex.  The Panel accepted Mr Greatrex’s admission that he was guilty of misuse of the whip in that he had used his whip above the permitted level. 

4. Having viewed recordings of the race, and considered the documents in the bundle, and having heard submissions from Mr Williams and Mr Mac Neice, the Panel found the admitted breach by Mr Greatrex of using his whip above the permitted level whilst riding DOCTOR BONG at Kempton Park to be proved. 

5. The Panel found that Mr Greatrex had used his whip on 10 occasions in the race from approximately 2 furlongs out.  Mr Williams for the BHA submitted that given the distance over which the whip was used, one hit should be discounted, whilst Mr Mac Neice suggested that a further hit should also be discounted given the jockey’s explanation in the enquiry at Kempton Park as to the reasons for his use of the whip on this occasion, the fact that the horse was a difficult horse to ride and was reluctant to race. 

6. The Panel considered that taking all factors into account, one hit should be discounted, particularly because of the distance over which the whip was used.  The remaining 9 hits were above the permitted level, and merited a 4 day suspension. 

7. The Panel then considered for how long Mr Greatrex should be suspended under the “totting up” provisions.  Mr Greatrex had accumulated 4 x 2 day suspensions and 1 x 4 day suspension over a period of approximately 5½ months (2 May to 14 October 2017).  During this period he had 206 rides.  Mr Williams suggested that, in the circumstances, the penalty should be slightly above the entry point of 21 days with one third deferred for 2 months.  Mr Mac Neice submitted that the entry point or slightly below it was appropriate, particularly given the number of rides and the period of 5½ months over which the breaches of the whip Rules had occurred. 

8. The Panel decided that this warranted an entry point penalty of 21 days suspension.  Whilst the number of rides was roughly average for the period, the 4 day penalty at Kempton Park had occurred less than a week after Mr Greatrex had received 2 days suspension for being above the permitted level, also at Kempton Park. 

9. The Panel therefore suspended Mr Greatrex for 21 days, one third of the penalty to be deferred for a period of 2 months.  The initial suspension will run from Friday 3 November to Monday 20 November 2017 inclusive, on days on which Flat racing is scheduled, and the further 7 days will be deferred to 20 January 2018. 

 

Mitch Godwin 

1. The Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on 26 October 2017 held an enquiry to establish whether or not Mitch Godwin, the rider of PICK A LITTLE, the winner of the Brighton Lions Firework Night 5 November Handicap  (Div II) (Class 6) at Brighton on 19 October 2017, was in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 of the Rules of Racing in that he used his whip above the permitted level.  The matter was referred to the BHA Head Office by the Stewards at Brighton following an enquiry on the same day because this was Mr Godwin’s fifth offence of mis-use of the whip, warranting a suspension of between 2 to 6 days, in the last 6 months. 

2. Mr Godwin attended in person and was represented by Mr Rory Mac Neice.  The BHA was represented by Mr Lyn Williams.  There was no objection from any party to the participation of the members of the Panel in this case. 

3. Mr Godwin, before the Panel, did not accept that he was in breach of using his whip above the permitted level, in that whilst he admitted he had hit the horse 9 times, and they were proper hits, Mr Mac Neice suggested that 2 hits should be discounted.  Mr Mac Neice stated that the use of the whip on this occasion was measured and appropriate, given that the horse was lugging and had changed legs, and because the camber necessitated straightening the horse up, given it was in a challenging position.  Mr Williams submitted for the BHA, that 1 hit only could be discounted, given that the whip was used from 1½ to 2 furlongs out. 

4. The Panel, having viewed various recordings of the race, and considered the documents in the bundle before them, and further considered the submissions of Mr Williams and Mr Mac Neice, concluded that whilst one hit could properly be discounted, given particularly the distance over which the whip was used, 8 hits still remained, and that the breach was proved, and that a 2-day suspension was appropriate. 

5. The Panel then considered for how long Mr Godwin should be suspended under the “totting up” provisions.  Mr Godwin had accumulated 4 x 2 day suspensions and 1 x 4 day suspension  and this was over a period of less than 4 months (28 June – 19 October 2017).  During this period he had 162 rides.  Mr Williams submitted that the penalty should be slightly in excess of the entry point of 21 days.  Mr Mac Neice submitted that the entry point was appropriate. 

6. The Panel concluded that the penalty of 24 days was appropriate, given particularly that the breaches had occurred in less than 4 months, during which time Mr Godwin rode 162 times.  These were aggravating factors that took the penalty slightly above the suggested entry point. 

7. The Panel therefore suspended Mr Godwin for 24 days, one third of the penalty to be deferred for a period of 2 months.  The initial suspension will run from Friday 3 November to Wednesday 22 November 2017 inclusive, on days on which Flat racing is scheduled, and the further 8 days will be deferred to 22 January 2018.

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