DISCIPLINARY PANEL NEWS
Disciplinary Panel results of fast-tracked cases (B. Loughnane & O. Orr)
08/12/2023 @ 12:00:00
1. I (Sarah Crowther KC) am asked to approve a proposed agreement under the Fast-Track procedure between the British Horseracing Authority (‘BHA’) and Mr Loughnane. The agreement concerns the admitted breaches by Mr Loughnane of the Rules of Racing, particularly Rule (F)35 as follows: -
i. 3 June 2023 caution for careless riding at Lingfield
ii. 15 June 2023 3-day suspension for careless riding at Newbury
iii. 21 June 2023 caution for careless riding at Newcastle
iv. 11 July 2023 caution for careless riding at Brighton
v. 13 July 2023 4-day suspension for careless riding at Doncaster
vi. 1 September 2023 2-day suspension for careless riding at Wolverhampton
vii. 9 September 2023 7-day suspension for careless riding at Wolverhampton
viii. 13 October 2023 2-day suspension for careless riding at York ix. 27 October 2023 caution for careless riding at Wolverhampton x. 19 November 2023 3-day suspension for careless riding at Newcastle
2. The event which has led to referral to me sitting as Chair alone as the disciplinary panel pursuant to Rules (F)34 – 36 of the Rules of Racing is the further incident of careless riding at Chelmsford on 21 November 2023 in the 5.30pm when Mr Loughnane was on TRANQUILLITY after approximately one furlong, when placing 5th. Mr Loughnane was adjudged by the stewards to have allowed his mount to shift left-handed when insufficiently clear, causing HAULFRONHOBBS to clip heels and stumble. He accepted this finding and the 5-day suspension.
3. However, by this point, Mr Loughnane had been suspended for more than 20 days for interference offences within a rolling 6-month period and therefore the matter had to be referred to the Disciplinary Panel for sanction. B. THE APPLICATION
4. The guidance for sanction in the case of interference under (F)35 is: “The Disciplinary Panel will usually impose a suspension of between 10 and 28 days with an entry point of 14 days for the accumulation of days suspended plus a period of suspension for the offence.”
5. The BHA proposes 17 days, being 12 days plus 5, calculated based on: - i. 12 days for the accumulation; and ii. 5 days for the offence itself.
6. The Stewards at Chelmsford considered the interference on 21 November 2023 to be considerable because it caused the other horse to clip heels and stumble. This is said to reflect a reduction from the 7-day entry point to account for other circumstances in play in the race and the standard of riding involved. I have not seen the footage but note that the BHA agrees with the Stewards in respect of their conclusion had the matter been addressed as a ‘stand-alone’ case of interference. In those circumstances, I am content to agree with the uncontested assessment.
7. With regards to the accumulation aspect of the penalty, the BHA has proposed 12 days. This also reflects a discount on the entry point of 14 days.
8. It has treated the offending profile as an aggravating feature, an assessment with which I concur. Against this, the BHA has considered the overall riding, given that it represents 11 breaches within 486 rides. As this is a high number of rides, it has the effect of bringing the number of offences back within the average range. It is also noted that prior to the rolling 6-month period, the offending rate was lower.
9. The BHA suggests that the fact that the breaches occurred across the entirety of the 6-month rolling period is somehow a mitigatory factor. I struggle to see how this really mitigates the offending for myself: the purpose of the rule is to promote the safety and welfare of runners and riders and to ensure that racing is fair and that all participants can have a full and unimpeded run. Riders who repeatedly interfere with the progress of other horses, whether carelessly or otherwise, undermine those objectives and where a clear pattern of poor behaviour has been established, such as here, action needs to be taken to encourage the rider to change that behaviour.
10. My first instinct was, therefore, that the proposed sanction was too generous, however, I have reflected on the totality of the offending and riding and consider that in view of Mr Loughnane’s cooperation and frank admissions, the modest reduction on the entry point can be justified on this occasion. It is unlikely that he will be the beneficiary of such a reduction should he continue this pattern of offending.
11. Finally, I have considered the proposal for deferral of 4 days suspension for a 3-month period. In the circumstances where the intention of the penalty is persuasive as well as punitive, I consider that it is entirely appropriate that there should be a clear incentive for Mr Loughnane to improve his riding standards and avoid some of his suspension. C. CONCLUSION
12. The proposed penalty of 17 days suspension, with 4-days deferred for a period of 3 months, is therefore approved. Mr Loughnane will be informed the dates of the suspension by the BHA.
Sarah Crowther KC, Judicial Panel Chair
1. On 30th October 2023 at Newcastle racecourse the above named jockey was admittedly in breach of Rule (F)45 in that he used his whip once above the permitted level. This was the 4th such offence in the previous 6 months, concerning the number of whip strikes, with a further offence concerning the location of a whip strike or strikes also within the previous 6 months. Mr. Orr admitted the breach to the stewards on the day of the race. The matter was referred to the Whip Review Committee. On 10th November 2023 the BHA wrote to Mr. Orr by email informing him of their proposal that the matter could be dealt with under the above procedure and they proposed a potentially agreed penalty of 26 days suspension of licence with 8 days deferred for 6 months. On 19th November 2023 Mr. Orr signed acceptance of procedure and penalty.
2. I have carefully considered whether I agree with the course proposed by the BHA and agreed by Mr. Orr. It is clear from their letter of 10th November that the BHA considered all the relevant matters, including the history of Mr Orr’s antecedent breaches, the seriousness of the Newcastle breach and the mitigation which Mr Orr could properly benefit from. Mr Orr has agreed with the BHA’s conclusion.
3. I do not find any reason to order otherwise and I therefore confirm the penalty to be one of 26 days suspension of license with 8 days deferred for 6 months. Tim Grey, Judicial Panel Member
Notes to Editors:
1. The above fast-tracked cases were heard indvidually by Judicial Panel Chair, Sarah Crowther KC and Judicial Panel Member, Tim Grey. More information about the fast-track system can be found here.
Please note, the BHA Judicial Panel is an independent body which encompasses the Disciplinary Panel, Appeal Board and Licensing Committee. It receives administrative support from the BHA via the Judicial Panel Executive.