NTF responds to BHA announcement of a review of anti-doping rules

NEWS RELEASE

25 January 2018

National Trainers Federation responds to BHA announcement of a review of anti-doping rules

Yesterday evening the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced a full review of the sport’s equine anti-doping rules.

In the aftermath of the result in the Hughie Morrison case, the NTF called for a review of aspects of these regulations so we welcome the BHA’s announcement and look forward to playing a constructive role.

NTF Chief Executive Rupert Arnold commented, “We would like to take this opportunity to clarify and confirm that the NTF supports the principle of strict liability in equine anti-doping cases and we have not challenged it in recent cases. Our contention has been that the rules should not fetter the Disciplinary Panel in its duty to impose appropriate penalties in the light of the specific evidence in each case. This is what the Appeal Board confirmed in its decision on the BHA’s appeal of the Philip Hobbs case.”

Ends

The National Trainers Federation represents the interests of British licensed racehorse trainers.

For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to www.racehorsetrainers.org

 

NTF statement on the Disciplinary Panel’s full reasons in the Hughie Morrison case

The NTF is grateful to the independent Disciplinary Panel for providing today a full account of its decision following the hearing in December 2017 involving Hughie Morrison.

The NTF supports the current rules on strict liability in equine anti-doping cases and the Disciplinary Panel’s detailed and incisive analysis confirms our contention that these rules are no bar to the Panel arriving at wise decisions and appropriate penalties in the light of the specific evidence in each case.

We accept the Disciplinary Panel’s finding that the BHA ran a fair investigation. At the same time, aspects of recent prohibited substance cases raise a number of serious concerns that will have an impact on the way trainers manage their yards and wider implications for the industry. We intend to meet the BHA to discuss these issues soon.

Ends

 

The National Trainers Federation represents the interests of British licensed racehorse trainers.

For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to www.racehorsetrainers.org

NTF statement on Hughie Morrison result

The Disciplinary Panel’s decision to fine rather than ban Hughie Morrison is in the NTF’s opinion a fair and balanced result on the evidence.

The NTF has said it before but it bears repeating that this and other cases involving prohibited substance have left trainers feeling very vulnerable. We are pleased that the Disciplinary Panel, while having regard to the requirement for strict liability, is taking a broader view of the issues and not accepting without question the arguments run by the BHA’s legal team. We believe the Panel’s approach is the right one for the best interests of the sport.

Nothing in our statement should lead to any doubt that the NTF supports racing’s anti-doping policy generally and zero tolerance of anabolic steroids. However, today the NTF is calling for the BHA to review aspects of its management of anti-doping regulation. There are a number of issues but one is that it is not good enough for the regulator to hide behind trainers’ strict liability to avoid a thorough investigation, particularly when the stakes are as high as they were in this case.. The BHA requires not only the confidence of the public in the integrity of racing but also the confidence of its participants that they will be treated with sufficient care in the course of an investigation. The BHA’s reason for not conducting a hair test on Our Little Sister does not stand up to scrutiny.

A point that bears on the BHA’s duty of care to defendants is that in spite of the recent announcement of a route to pro bono legal representation, there are very few trainers who could afford to go to the lengths Hughie Morrison could to mount the defence he needed. NTF members have access to our legal expenses insurance scheme but even that is not able to fully cover very costly litigation.

Rupert Arnold

Statement on the dismissal of BHA appeal in Philip Hobbs case

NEWS RELEASE

FROM THE NATIONAL TRAINERS FEDERATION

23 November 2017 – For immediate release

National Trainers Federation statement on the dismissal of BHA appeal in Philip Hobbs case

 The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is very pleased with the Appeal Board’s decision in this landmark case. It’s effect is to confirm that the absence of a known source of a prohibited substance in a horse’s sample is not a bar to a Disciplinary Panel absolving a trainer of a personal penalty under the strict liability rules as long as the particular facts of the case demonstrate that the trainer has met the threshold required by the rules.

We note that in response to this decision, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) will seek a rule change. We would strongly discourage them from this. Each case will still turn on the facts. Far from obstructing its ability to regulate the sport, the BHA should recognise that this ruling gives trainers an incentive to ensure they apply the very best management practices to prevent their horses from being administered with or contaminated by a prohibited substance whether in their home stables or at a racecourse. There is no such incentive if the trainer is penalised whatever the circumstances. It should not be forgotten that the result does not change the inevitable disqualification of the horse with serious consequences for the connections including the trainer. This in itself is sufficient deterrent.

We want to be clear that the NTF fully supports British racing’s rules on equine anti-doping and their objective to ensure that everyone competes on level terms on British racecourses. Our interest in the appeal was to ensure fair treatment of trainers under those rules.

Finally, we hope this result serves as a warning to the BHA to use its appeal powers in future with extreme caution.

Throughout the appeal process Philip Hobbs was provided with advice and legal representation for the hearing through the NTF’s Legal Assistance Scheme.

Ends

The National Trainers Federation represents the interests of British licensed racehorse trainers.

For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to www.racehorsetrainers.org

 

Statement on the new requirement to declare wind surgery

NEWS RELEASE

FROM THE NATIONAL TRAINERS FEDERATION

22 November 2017

National Trainers Federation statement on the new requirement to declare wind surgery

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) sent an email to trainers yesterday informing them that they would have to notify the BHA of certain types of wind surgery carried out on any previously raced horse in their care before that horse’s next run after surgery.

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is concerned about the new rule on several fronts. First, any rule change should have been prefaced by more research. The BHA has made it clear that its motive for implementing this rule is to provide information for bettors that might influence their betting behaviour. The NTF understands the desire to fulfil the needs of racing’s customers but in this data driven world, reliable data is essential.

In the consultation we proposed that the BHA’s first step should be to collect data from trainers about wind surgeries carried out over a two year period. That data would then be analysed to assess the extent to which different wind surgeries have a significant effect on the performance of a large enough cohort of horses to have some confidence in the value of information provided to bettors. The BHA has opted to ignore the opportunity for an evidence-based approach on this issue. We believe that is poor regulation.

The NTF’s other concerns include the impossibility of effectively policing the rule, especially in relation to horses trained outside Britain. Some types of surgery cannot be detected post-operatively. We urged the BHA to seek alignment from Ireland and France before introducing the rule. The BHA chose to make the running but we fear this will leave British racing connections at a disadvantage and undermine the objective of the rule.

Ends

The National Trainers Federation represents the interests of British licensed racehorse trainers.

For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to www.racehorsetrainers.org

 

EHV vaccine to become mandatory to race in France

The BHA has been told by France Galop that from January 2018, it will make vaccination against Equine Herpes Virus mandatory under their rules of racing. We understand that the BHA and Animal Health Trust do not favour the French policy. However, a letter written by France Galop and found on the internet by a British trainer states, “The EHV vaccination was already mandatory in France for the breeding stock…and our stakeholders have expressed the will to have all the racehorses vaccinated. Consequently we have decided to extend the benefit of this vaccination to the training and racing areas.”

The French policy appears to disregard the shortage of vaccine in Europe and the problems encountered by trainers who have used imported vaccine. Although the letter indicates that the rule has not yet been published, it would be wise to plan ahead now if you intend to have runners in France after 1st January 2018.

 

Microchip number must be checked against passport

With effect from 1st January 2018, the rules will require trainers to have checked the microchip number for all horses in their care against the number in the horse’s passport. This is in addition to the existing requirement to check that the horse’s markings match those in the passport. Any discrepancy in either must be notified to Weatherbys.

Your vet will have a microchip scanner so you can ask him/her to check the number during a routine visit. Alternatively, some trainers may find it useful to purchase their own scanner; they cost around £50. Halo is a brand being used and suppliers can be found online.