BHA panel finds trainer Jim Best guilty of stopping two horses

Trainer Jim Best has been found guilty by a disciplinary panel of ordering a jockey not to win two races.

jim-bestHowever, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has only suspended him for six months, after deeming that his original four-year ban until 2020 was ‘too substantial to stand’.

The panel, chaired by Sir William Gage, concluded that Best was guilty of conduct ‘prejudicial to horse racing’. It found that he had told jockey Paul John to stop Echo Brava and Missile Man at meetings in December 2015. John rode Echo Brava at Plumpton on 14 December and Missile Man at Towcester three days later, with both horses finishing out of the places.

Gage said: “We find that Mr John did intentionally ride both horses other than on their merits: that is, these were ‘stopping’ rides. We also find that is overwhelmingly likely that he rode in that way because those were Mr Best’s instructions.”

The original verdict, chaired by solicitor Matthew Lohn, was quashed because of ‘an appearance of bias’. There was no suggestion that Lohn had been biased against Best, but the BHA did find the panel’s reasons for its findings were ‘insufficient to support its decision in this case’.

Best’s legal team, led by solicitor Harry Stewart-Moore, have seven days to consider an appeal. However, they must also consider that any appeal board has the authority to increase the sentence as well as reduce it.

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