Result of an Appeal (H. Doyle) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Tuesday 28 September 2021

Result of an Appeal (H. Doyle) heard by the Disciplinary Panel on Tuesday 28 September 2021

30/09/2021 @ 12:30:00

Hollie Doyle

A hearing of the independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) concerning the appeal of Ms Hollie Doyle against the finding of the Stewards at Kempton Park racecourse on 17 September 2021 that she was in breach of Rule (F)35 of the Rules of Racing and the penalty imposed.

A. The Race

This was the Handicap Stakes (Class 6) (DIV II) at Kempton Park on the above date. The Appellant rode MOUNTAIN ASH (IRE) placed second, the winner POET’S EYE was ridden by Ms Saffie Osborne and APPRECIATE (IRE) placed 7th by Mr Jack Mitchell.

B. The Stewards Enquiry

The Stewards concluded as follows:
“Having considered the incident and listened to all the evidence we find you Ms Doyle are guilty under Rule (F)35 in that about 6½ furlongs out you shifted right when not sufficiently clear, taking Ms Osborne off her intended line, resulting in Ms Osborne and Mr Mitchell on the rail taking a considerable check and Mr Mitchell also making contact with the rail. We consider the interference to be in the considerable bracket and we have a range of 5 -14 days available. On this occasion we feel a suspension of 7 days is appropriate.”

C. The Appeal Hearing

Ms Charlotte Davison appeared for the BHA; Mr Rory Mac Neice appeared for the Appellant.  There was no objection to the constitution of the Panel.
We watched and studied CCTV footage of the race several times from all angles in minute detail with analysis in submissions of fractions of seconds. We heard evidence from Ms Osborne and Mr Mitchell called by the BHA and from the Appellant. We had due regard to the written record of the Stewards Enquiry.

D. Respective Cases

The BHA: that the Appellant made a deliberate move to her right about 6½ furlongs out towards the rail causing considerable interference to Ms Osborne and then in a concertina effect to Mr Mitchell causing him to be forced against the rail.  That as the Stewards concluded there was never sufficient room for the manoeuvre without causing such considerable interference. Applying the definition in the Guidance, this was a clear case of Careless Riding.
The Appellant: that throughout the race whereas the Appellant was looking to and then did move laterally towards the rail she did so legitimately exercising appropriate and proper care. That whereas there was interference that it occurred not by any fault on her part but either by the other 2 horses speeding up or “latching on“ to the pace or alternatively by a deceleration of it.  In particular that Ms Osborne’s horse was keen. That from particular camera footage there was sufficient room for the manoeuvre. No jockey was to blame. Applying the definition the Appellant was not guilty of Careless Riding.

E. The Rules and Guidance

The relevant Rules come under a heading “Dangerous, Careless and Improper Riding.”
Rule (F)35: A Jockey must not interfere with ... another horse …. during a race.
Rule (F)36: There shall be no breach of Rule (F)35 where the interference .... is accidental.
Careless Riding is defined in the Guidance as follows: “A rider is guilty of careless riding if he /she fails to take reasonable steps to avoid causing interference or causes interference by inattention or misjudgement.”

F. Our Findings
  • We refuse the appeal against the finding of a breach of Rule (F)35;
  • In our unanimous judgement there simply was not sufficient room for the Appellant to make the manoeuvre concerned. There was always at least the risk of clipping heels given the strides of the horses and the proximity of rear and front hooves respectively;
  • At about 6½ furlongs out the Appellant was not sufficiently clear of Ms Osborne’s horse.  She then shifted right towards the rail taking her off her line and in a concertina effect to take Mr Mitchell off his line.  Both jockeys had to take significant checks and Mr Mitchell was forced into the rail.  As the Appellant started her move the front leg of POET’S EYE crossed over the hind leg of MOUNTAIN ASH (IRE);
  • We do not think it is appropriate to indicate a distance we conclude to be sufficiently clear as a general benchmark for a manoeuvre of this kind. These matters are case and circumstances specific;
  • Making all due allowance for the comparatively limited opportunity for detailed and lengthy examination of the footage in a Steward’s Enquiry (as compared with our hearing) the Appellant was correct when she agreed in the Enquiry that she was not sufficiently clear;
  • That, in a nutshell, is our conclusion, this was a misjudgement and the Appellant “caused interference by misjudgement” and this was Careless Riding;
  • We find that neither of the other 2 horses involved were “speeding up” or “latching on” in any relevant sense. The interference was caused by the Appellant’s manoeuvre without sufficient room.

G. The Penalty

We follow the Guidance as did the Stewards in imposing a suspension of 7 days. The appropriate range is 5 -14 days. This was a serious incident where a rider was squeezed up against the rails by the interference.  We take into account all that we heard from Mr Mac Neice including reference to Ms Doyle’s very limited record of previous breaches in such a prolific and distinguished career as a Jockey. But having carefully considered all relevant circumstances we refuse the Appeal against the penalty.
This was not, notwithstanding our clear findings, a frivolous appeal and we return the deposit.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Panel for the Appeal was: HH James O'Mahony, Jodie Mogford and Tim Etherington. 

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 Secretary. 
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