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Results of an Appeal (D. Crosse) and Enquiries (H. Turner, J. Scott, Kelso, Worcester Racecourses) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on 14 December

Results of an Appeal (D. Crosse) and Enquiries (H. Turner, J. Scott, Kelso,  Worcester Racecourses) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on 14 December

Press Release

9th January 2018 

David Crosse - Appeal

1. On 14 December 2017 the Independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) heard an appeal by David Crosse, a licensed jockey, against the decision of the Stewards at Ludlow on 6 December 2017 that Mr Crosse was in breach of Rule (B)67.4.3 and be suspended for three days.

2. Mr Crosse conducted the appeal in person and the BHA was represented by Lyn Williams.

3. Rule (B)67.4.3 requires the Clerk of the Scales to report to the Stewards any rider who weighs in at 2lb or more over the weight at which he weighed out. (Under Rule (B)67.11 the Stewards are required to take disciplinary action against a rider reported to them under Rule (B)67.4.3 unless the reason for the report can be explained to the satisfaction of the Stewards.)

4. At Ludlow on 6 December 2017 Mr Crosse was riding a horse called CANOODLE in the Alpha Aggregate Products Mares Handicap. The horse had been allocated a weight of 10st 1lb. Mr Crosse weighed out at 141.5lb (the scales only measured lbs so any excess of a lb is recorded at 0.5lb). Rule (B)67.7 provides that “all weights will be rounded down to the nearest lb unit”, so Mr Crosse’s official weight at weighing out was 141 lb, i.e. 10st 1lb.

5. CANOODLE finished 3rd. Mr Crosse was thus required to weigh in and his weight was 143 lb, i.e. 10st 3lb. He was therefore 2lb over the weight at which he weighed out and was reported to the Stewards.

6. There was a Stewards’ enquiry. Mr Crosse could not explain his increased weight on weighing in. He had not been wearing his lightweight riding clothes or boots: “I weighed out in my heavy gear and I came back with my heavy gear”, he told the Stewards. After he weighed out he had drunk half a cup of water.

7. At this appeal hearing Mr Crosse produced some of his lightweight ‘gear’ and heavy ‘gear’. He also showed the Panel the pad of Mr Morrison (the trainer of CANOODLE) with which the horse had been saddled at Ludlow, and suggested the difference in weights may have been caused by the pad absorbing the sweat of the horse during the race. The Panel could not accept this explanation as the material of the pad was not sponge like and would not have absorbed the horse’s sweat.

8. There were no weather conditions at Ludlow which could have resulted in jockeys weighing considerably more after riding in a race. After this particular race two jockeys weighed in a little heavier (less than 1lb), and the remainder, apart from Mr Crosse, at the same weight.

9. Mr Crosse’s main grounds for challenging the Steward’s finding that he was in breach of Rule (B)67.4.3 was, on our understanding, that in reality he did not weigh in 2lbs heavier than when weighing out as his actual weight on weighing out was in excess of 10st 1lb (or 141 lb). That may well be so. But effect must be given to Rule (B)67.7 under which weights are rounded down to the nearest lb. In assessing whether Mr Crosse was 2lb heavier on weighing in the Stewards had to take 10st 1lb as his weight on weighing out.

10. Accordingly, Mr Crosse’s challenge to the finding of the Stewards that he was in breach of Rule (B)67.4.3 must fail.

11. As to the penalty, the Stewards applied what is stated in the BHA Guide to Procedures and Penalties to be the Entry Point for breaches of the Rule in respect of the first four placings, namely three days suspension.

12. We consider this to be too harsh a penalty. Mr Crosse was only in breach of the Rule by virtue of the rounding down provision (it is quite possible that he may have been just over 1lb heavier on weighing in). There is no evidence of fault or blameworthy conduct on the part of Mr Crosse. There had been no similar incident in his career as a jockey. Drinking a small quantity of water would not usually result in a significant weight increase.

13. In the circumstances of this case we consider the appropriate and sufficient penalty is the issue of a caution. That is what we order in substitution of the three-day suspension. Mr Crosse must in the future be aware that if his weight is marked down on weighing out he will have to exercise special care after weighing out that he does not do anything, particularly by way of liquid or food consumption, that might increase his weight.

14. The Appeal is therefore allowed. The deposit will be returned.

Hayley Turner

1. On 14 December 2017 the Independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry into whether Hayley Turner, a licensed jockey, had been in breach of Rule (D)53 of the Rules of Racing on the grounds that she had placed bets on horseracing when she held a professional jockey’s licence.

2. Mr Tim Naylor, Head of Regulation, presented the case on behalf of the BHA. Ms Turner, who was present was represented by Mr Rory Mac Neice.

3. No objection was made to any of the Panel members sitting.

4. Rule (D)53.2.1 states, “ a Professional Rider must not bet or lay a horse to lose any race with a Betting Organisation”.

5. At the outset of the enquiry Ms Turner (whom we shall hereafter call ‘Hayley’) admitted she had been in breach of this Rule.

6. None of the background facts were disputed and they are outlined below.

7. Hayley has ridden as a jockey since March 2000. She held an apprentice licence until November 2005, and since then, apart from a period of months in 2016, a professional jockey’s licence. She has been notably successful.

8. At the beginning of September 2015 she publicly announced her intention to retire at the end of the turf flat season. Her intended last ride was in the Betfred November Handicap at Doncaster on 7 November 2015. Her licence expired on March 2017. Hayley did not relinquish her licence, but she did not ride between 7 November 2015 and 17 March 2016

9. On 17 December 2015 Hayley opened an account with the bookmakers Paddy Power. It was opened in her name with details of her home address, telephone number etc given. Between the above date and 17 March 2016 more than 50 bets on horse racing were placed by Hayley with Paddy Power.

10. At the beginning of July 2016 Hayley applied to renew her licence. Her reason for so doing was that she had been invited to ride in the Shergar Cup in August and she wanted to be able to have some preparatory rides. On 6 July 2016 her application was granted and she was notified on that day by email which stated that the licence was valid from 06/07/2016 to 05/07/2017.

11. On 6 July 2016 Hayley had two bets on horses running at evening meetings and had further bets on 7 and 8 July 2016.

12. Between 15 July and 6 August 2016 Hayley rode in 14 races in Britain including 5 in the Shergar Cup at Ascot on 6 August 2016. There were no bets on the Paddy Power account between 8 July and 2 October 2016, but between the latter date and the end of the year 32 bets were made on the account. Hayley retained the jockey’s licence issued on 6 July 2016.

13. Between 1 January 2017 and 9 February 2017 Hayley had 14 bets on her account.

14. On 21 February 2017 Hayley in accordance with what had been her normal practice submitted an application to renew her licence. In the form to the question, “Do you hold a current licence” she answered “Yes”. On 23, 24 and 25 February 2017 she made a number of bets on her account.

15. On 28 February 2017 Hayley was telephoned by the BHA and told that her licence continued until 5 July 2017. Hayley explained that she had made the application in February as that is what she had always done in the past.

16. In the middle of March 2017 there were communications between Hayley and the BHA about her riding in Greece for which she needed BHA clearance. Some of the e-mails stated as their ‘subject’, “Riding in Greece on a British licence”. Around the same time there was a lot of activity by Hayley on the betting front – it was the Cheltenham Festival Meeting – 9 bets being made by Hayley in the afternoon of 14 March alone. Hayley rode in three races in Greece on 15 April 2017.

17. Between 15 April and 10 June 2017 Hayley placed 21 bets on her Paddy Power account. On 14 June she submitted an application to renew her licence. This was granted on 26 June 2017. On 3 July 2017 she rode a winner at Windsor and the following day competed in the Lady Jockey’s Thoroughbred World Championship in Sweden. Four days later on 8 July Hayley had three bets on her Paddy Power account.

18. Between 19 August and 14 October 2017 Hayley rode in 28 races in this country. Her last recorded bet with Paddy Power was on 8 July 2017. It was on 23 August 2017 that Hayley was contacted by Mr Tim Miller, Investigating Officer Team Leader at the BHA, to inform her he wanted to interview her about her betting account.

19. By way of summary of Hayley’s betting on her Paddy Power account: between 17 December 2015 and 8 July 2017, excluding the period in 2016 when she did not have a licence, she placed 164 bets which showed a profit of about £160. The largest amount staked was £100 (two occasions), the majority in modest sums between £5 and £20. None of the bets were on horses which Hayley was riding or on races in which she was riding.

20. Mr Naylor in presenting the BHA’s case made it clear that it was not considered or alleged that there were any integrity issues involved in Hayley’s conduct. But Mr Naylor did draw to our attention that in the Guide to Procedure and Penalties the recommended Entry Point for breach of Rule (D)53 is Disqualification for 18 months.

21. It was a central feature of Mr Mac Neice’s powerful submissions made on Hayley’s behalf that her underlying integrity was not challenged or in doubt. There was no sinister or corrupt element in any of her betting activities. He was able to put before us references from two respected trainers, Michael Bell and Marcus Tregoning, and two leading figures in the racing world, Harry Herbert, Chairman of Highclere Racing, and Tony Nerses, Managing Director of Blue Diamond Stud. Their letters informed us as to how highly she is regarded by these persons with particular emphasis on her honesty and exemplary professional behaviour. Mr Mac Neice urged us to ignore the Guide’s recommended entry point which he said was clearly not directed to this kind of case where there was a complete absence of any devious or dishonest motive. As to how his client explained her conduct, he said that she was confused by her two disparate roles she now carried out, that of a television presenter and racing personality much of the time, and that of a professional jockey at other times. When in the former role she considered that like any of her TV colleagues she could have a bet, but when, and only when, she was a jockey was she prohibited from betting.

22. Mr MacNeice suggested that if we were to seek assistance from the Guide we should perhaps consider the entry as regards breaches under Rule (A)30 which covers activity which is prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horse racing. That could be said to be the kind of harm caused by Hayley’s betting, and Mr Mac Neice pointed out that the initial recommendation in respect of the Entry Point is a fine of £2000 with a possible range of between £1,000 and £15,000. Mr Mac Neice contended that a fine in the lower end of that range is the appropriate penalty in this case.

23. The Panel readily accepts that Hayley’s betting activities did not involve any improbity beyond a breach of a Rule and for that reason the Guide’s recommended entry point for a breach of (D)53 is not applicable. (It was noted that Rule (D)54 which prohibits amateur riders from betting, but only in races in which they were riding, has the same Entry Point in the Guide, which would seem to be an indication that the recommended Entry Point in in both (D)53 and 54 is primarily directed at riders, whether professional or amateur, betting in races in which they were riding). Further, as regards the bets that were placed between December 2015 and March 2016 we are prepared to regard these as amounting to little more than technical breaches as Hayley had no rides during these months and clearly considered herself as having retired, albeit that strictly speaking she should have formally relinquished her licence.

24. From July 2016 the position was very different. Hayley returned to the ranks of professional jockeys, renewing her annual licence and riding intermittently during the course of its validity. Notwithstanding the prohibition on betting by professional riders set out in the Rules in clear straightforward terms, and without exceptions, it was consistently disregarded by Hayley. We do not reject out of hand her explanation of her confused state of mind, but it would seem that she did not harbour any doubts about the propriety of what she was doing as she never sought advice, nor referred to the Rule to remind herself as to its terms. It seems to us that an underlying cause of her conduct was a lax and complacent attitude to compliance with the Rules of Racing and an irresponsible lack of awareness of the potential damage to the reputation of racing by her regular betting whilst holding a licence. She must or should have realised that as an experienced and well-known and respected jockey any misconduct by her could impact adversely on the public perception of the integrity of racing.

25. For these reasons we cannot accept Mr Mac Neice’s submission, which we have considered very carefully, that a fine is an appropriate penalty. Our considerations have taken into account the positive benefits Hayley has contributed to the reputation of racing by her successful career, and by the way in which through hard work and commitment leading to success she has shown the way to what can be achieved by a female pursuing a career as a jockey.

26. If not a fine what is the appropriate penalty? In our view it has to be a period of suspension. We have noted that if we followed Mr Mac Neice’s reasonable suggestion that we should refer to the Guide’s advice as to penalties for breaches of Rule (A)30 involving behaviour prejudicial to the integrity to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing, we find listed, as alternatives to a fine, suspension or disqualification in the range 1 month to 3 years with an Entry Point of 3 months. Disqualification we reject as too severe. As for the period of suspension we consider that the facts of this case would justify a period of 6 months. But a substantial discount is merited not only by virtue of the factors mentioned in the paragraph above, but also on account of Hayley’s attitude and actions when and after she was interviewed by BHA investigators. She immediately admitted her misdeeds and has fully cooperated in The BHA enquiries. Thus, we conclude that the suspension should be for a period of 3 months from 14 December 2017 until 13 March 2018 inclusive.

Kelso Racecourse

1. On 14 December 2017 the Independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry to consider whether or not the Managing Executive of Kelso Racecourse had committed a breach of Rule (F)15.3.6 of the Rules of Racing by failing to carry out their responsibility to ensure on a race-by-race basis that the course was fit for racing to take place in that prior to the running of the 4th race on 28 October 2017 a fork had been left propped against the kick board of the open ditch.

2. Lyn Williams, BHA Case Manager, presented the case on behalf of the BHA. Jonathan Garratt, Managing Director of Kelso Racecourse, appeared on behalf of the Managing Executive of Kelso Racecourse.

3. Mr Garratt informed the Committee that the alleged breach of the Rules was not admitted.

4. The relevant facts are not in dispute and can be simply stated.

5. Kelso is a National Hunt Course. The second fence on the course is an open ditch. There are ground staff in the vicinity of this (and other) fences. One of their tasks is to inspect the course between races, repairing any damage to fences and removing any deep hoof marks in the turf. One or more of them will have for this purpose a fork. Unfortunately, between the 3rd and 4th races on 28 October 2017, an unidentified member of the staff who must have been course repairing left his fork propped against the board fronting the open ditch. We were told by Mr Garratt that this was noticed but only after the race had commenced and the staff considered it was too dangerous to try and remove the fork before the horses reached the fence. The fork was removed immediately after the field jumped the fence so it was not there on the second circuit.

6. Mr Garratt did not contest that the presence of the fork in front of the open ditch made the course, albeit temporarily, unfit for racing, He argued that the staff were experienced, responsible and well trained. Rule (F)15.3.6 requires the Managing Executive “to take all reasonably practical steps to ensure” that the course is fit for racing. By employing experienced, well-trained and responsible staff the Management had done all that they practically could to ensure that an incident of the kind that occurred did not happen. There was nothing they could have done to prevent the fork being there at the beginning of this race. It was outside their control.

7. We accept all Mr Garratt’s contentions, but in our view they do not amount to a defence of the breach of Rule (F)15.3. A Management Executive can only carry out its duties under this Rule through its employees and agents. If there is fault or failure on the part of the employee or agent resulting in a failure to comply with those duties then the Executive are liable to disciplinary action, even though not at fault. This is known as ‘vicarious liability’ which would have been applied to render the racecourse legally liable for damages had a horse or jockey been injured by the misplaced fork. Though not perhaps drafted with optimum clarity Rule (F)15.4 retains the principle of vicarious liability in relation to breaches of Rule (F)15.3. To evade disciplinary action the Managing Executive has to establish that what happened was outside their control and outside the control of their employees or agents. Clearly that cannot be done in this case.

8. The recommended Entry Point for a breach of Rule (F)15.3 is a fine of £3,500, and the Range a fine of £1,000 to £15,000. It is our view that this incident was an unforeseeable and isolated incident caused by the momentary carelessness of one of the staff which we are persuaded is unlikely ever to be repeated. A fine of £3,500 is disproportionate. Though not admitting any breach Mr Garratt by his presence at the enquiry demonstrated the Management’s concern at what had happened and he made it known that the incident had caused embarrassment and distress amongst the staff who were dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of safety. We consider the appropriate penalty is a fine of £1,000.

Worcester Racecourse

1. On 14 December 2017 the Independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) held an enquiry to consider whether or not the Managing Executive of Worcester Racecourse had committed a breach of Rule (F)15.2.3 of the Rules of Racing by failing to observe the required level of hygiene (level 1), as set out in the General Instructions, in the racecourse stables used at the meeting on 12 October 2017.

2. Lyn Williams, BHA Case Manager, presented the case on behalf of the BHA. No one representing Worcester Racecourse Managing Executive was present. They had asked that the matter be dealt with in their absence.

3. By letter dated 27 November 2017 Ms Jenny Cheshire, Executive Director of Worcester Racecourse, admitted a breach of the said Rule. Her letter also explained the circumstances relating to the breach of the Rule.

4. There was a race meeting at Worcester on 29 September 2017. The requirements of hygiene at Level 1 required that any racecourse stable occupied at that meeting should be cleaned and disinfected which would include the removal of all material such as soiled bedding, droppings, food etc, the addition of fresh bedding and the spraying of the area with chemical disinfectant.

5. At the next meeting on 12 October 2017 the trainer Mr Jonjo O’Neill had a number of runners two of which were put in boxes 1 and 2 of the racecourse stables. The boxes initially appeared to be in a proper state, but when visited a few moments later the horses were found to be eating food on the ground which had been uncovered by the horses pawing at the fresh bedding. The horses were immediately moved to other boxes. The racecourse vet inspected the boxes, and concluded that what the horses had been eating looked like cereal foodstuff, which was normal feed for a racehorse, so they were allowed to run.

6. The Stewards held an enquiry. During the course of the enquiry the Clerk of the Course stated that the staff should have cleaned and disinfected the boxes after the last meeting. There was a random check of some of the boxes on the morning of the meeting but the boxes did not include Boxes 1 and 2.

7. In her letter of 27 November 2017 to the BHA Ms Cheshire wrote that her enquiries had revealed human error on the part of two of the staff who had failed to clean these boxes. Procedures had been introduced to avoid this happening again.

8. The Panel were shown a number of photos of the ground surface of the boxes on 12 October 2017. The impression given was that one was looking at a rubbish tip, but that was principally because the bedding used was paper bedding, and that had been pushed aside to reveal the feed and other matter beneath. As the evidence was that when the horses were first put in the boxes there was nothing noticeably wrong with their condition – “they seemed fine” – it seems probable that the boxes were not just overlooked in the course of cleaning operations that took place after the meeting on September 29 2017: they were tended, but only to the extent of putting fresh bedding to cover any matter on the ground which included old feed.

9. The Guide to Procedures and Penalties recommends for breaches by a Managing Executive of a BHA General Instruction an Entry Point of a fine of £3,500 and a range of fines from £1,000 to £15,000. We consider this was a serious breach because it seems there was some endeavour by the staff to conceal their failure properly to clean the stable, and the consequences of leaving food on the ground could be that future occupants of the box might consume, before racing, feed which they should not be eating. In our view a fine of £7,000, double the Entry Point, would in the circumstances be justified. However, the Racecourse Management have acknowledged that their staff, for whom they must accept responsibility, have been at fault, have recognised that to have boxes in the stable for horses racing at the meeting in this condition is unacceptable, and have taken steps directed at ensuring that this does not happen again. In our view those factors merit a substantial discount, and the fine imposed will be £5,000.

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