McCoy: BHA needs to get its house in order

Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy: “The BHA were told things and they just ignored them”

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By Tom Kerr 2:35PM 13 JUN 2016 

LEGENDARY champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy has launched a stinging critique of the’s BHA handling of recent disciplinary cases, arguing the regulator’s mistakes are harming the image of the sport in an eve of Royal Ascot broadside that will further embarrass the embattled governing body.

The BHA has suffered weeks of criticism, most notably over the quashing of trainer Jim Best’s four-year ban on non-trier charges after it emerged the chairman of the disciplinary panel, Matthew Lohn, had an undisclosed commercial relationship with the BHA, leading to a perception of bias.

The regulator was warned about the impropriety of the undisclosed working relationship with Lohn by the Professional Jockeys Association over a year before the Best case but Jamie Stier, the BHA’s director of raceday operations and regulation, dismissed the concerns.

McCoy said: “I think the BHA need to get their house in order. It doesn’t look good for the game. If it was people involved in the sport who had made the kind of mistakes they have made, then they would have been severely reprimanded.

“They can’t afford to be making the mistakes they are making. Racing is a huge industry and they are not doing anybody any favours.

“We can all make mistakes, but there seem to be plenty being made at the moment. There have been a few cases that just look bad and should never have gone that far.”

Writing in his William Hill blog, McCoy added: “The BHA were told things and they just ignored them. What happens to most people if you don’t do your job? You get replaced, don’t you.”

Two QCs are now leading reviews into the BHA’s disciplinary process and all cases that Lohn sat on as a panel member since beginning non-disciplinary work for the BHA in October 2013.

At Best’s successful appeal hearing, the BHA’s representative Graeme McPherson QC made three separate apologies to Best, committed the governing body to paying the trainer’s legal fees to date, admitted it made an error ignoring the PJA’s warning about Lohn and confessed it had lost sight of the importance of maintaining a disciplinary panel that was unimpeachably independent.

Yet the regulator has refused to publicly comment on the Lohn situation or its disciplinary processes until the Best rehearing concludes, something not expected to occur until September at the earliest. McCoy was a regular rider for Best, taking 65 mounts for him in his last four years in the saddle.

Snowden: ‘there’s no faith in the system’

The BHA was further embarrassed last week after trainer Jamie Snowden declared he had lost faith in BHA procedures after his horse Carrigkerry was stripped of a win at an inquiry.

The case was brought – bizarrely – by McPherson, who combines duties as the BHA’s regular QC with running a training yard. It related to whether Carrigkerry had been in Snowden’s yard for the requisite 14 days before the race; the BHA initially supported Snowden’s interpretation of the rules, but later withdrew their backing.

Snowden said: “If the BHA, the governing body, suggests I haven’t broken any rule, how can a disciplinary panel conclude I have? They’ve not given their reasons yet, but common sense hasn’t prevailed.

“I’ve read every day this week how the disciplinary process doesn’t work. I didn’t want to believe it, but now I’ve seen it myself. How can anyone run a business when there’s no faith in the system governing it?”

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