Snowden loses winner and faith in BHA procedures

Jamie Snowden

Jamie Snowden: stripped of winner under strict interpretation of rules

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

 By Graham Dench 7:16AM 10 JUN 2016 

JAMIE SNOWDEN accused fellow trainer Graeme McPherson of bad sportsmanship and said he no longer had faith in the sport’s disciplinary procedures after Carrigkerry was on Thursday stripped of his win in a Worcester handicap hurdle after an objection heard at BHA headquarters.

The objection, brought by McPherson, trainer of runner-up Charlie Cook and a practising QC, hinged upon whether Carrigkerry had been in Snowden’s care the required 14 days, having run in a hunter chase for Charlotte Fuller at Newton Abbot on May 5 and won the Worcester hurdle on May 19.

Snowden was aware of the rule, but believed day one was the day the horse arrived in his stable, a position the BHA supported in the hearing, having initially objected, reconsidered, and then withdrawn.

‘Common sense hasn’t prevailed’

Snowden said: “I checked the rules and in my opinion complied with them. The BHA said if I’d asked them they’d have accepted I complied. They didn’t object, therefore they accept I complied.

“If the BHA, the governing body, suggest 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.”

He continued: “They told me by email only last Friday at 5.15pm they’d received an objection. and that they weren’t going to let me know the position they’d take on it until Monday.

“They came back to me on Monday to say they’d not be defending their decision, and on Tuesday I asked for an adjournment so I could get a solicitor. Yesterday they told me they wouldn’t allow an adjournment, so basically threw me into the disciplinary hearing against a trainer who’s a QC.

“I was never going to win, despite the fact I was correct. As a QC he bombarded the panel and dazzled them with legal jargon I couldn’t compete with as I didn’t have time to get a solicitor.”

‘Strict interpretation of the rules’

Snowden, who said he “expected” the outcome, added: “I’ve read in the Racing Post every day this week how the disciplinary process doesn’t work. I’m law-abiding and 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 justice system governing it?”

McPherson said: “The rules require a horse to be in a trainer’s care for 14 days but on the first of those 14 days the horse was trained by Mrs Fuller and ran for her at Newton Abbot.

“By strict interpretation of the rules he went into training with Jamie only on Friday, May 6 and so was with him only 13 days. It’s an unusual one and the first of its kind I’m aware of.”

BHA view

BHA media manager Robin Mounsey said: “The objection in this case was lodged by the connections of Charlie Cook.

“The BHA’s submission at the hearing was supportive of Mr Snowden in that, under our own interpretation and usual application of the rules, the horse was qualified to race for Mr Snowden. However, having heard each side’s submissions the disciplinary panel found that Mr Snowden’s horse was not qualified to run, and we must respect that finding.

“When Mr Snowden was informed about the hearing he was advised that he should consider appointing representation. Following an application, the disciplinary panel decided that there were insufficient grounds to justify an adjournment.”

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