BHA won’t oppose Hughes appeal

Brian Hughes pictured on Project Bluebook at Cheltenham

The British Horseracing Authority will not oppose Brian Hughes' appeal against the 10-day ban he was given at Stratford last month.

Hughes was found guilty of failing to jump off Clondaw Draft in a handicap chase on May 21 when his mount had gone lame.

However, the BHA issued a statement which read: "Having considered the matter very carefully, the BHA has decided not to make a submission to the disciplinary panel opposing Mr Hughes' appeal against the decision of the Stratford-on-Avon stewards to find him in breach of Rule (D)45.4 for his ride on Clondaw Draft on May 21, 2017.

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"By doing this the BHA is effectively saying, that while the determination of the appeal rests with the disciplinary panel, the BHA does not believe reasonable submissions can be made to oppose the upholding of Mr Hughes' appeal and the subsequent overturning of the charge and resultant suspension in this case.

"The BHA believes it was correct that the stewards held an inquiry into Mr Hughes' pulling up of Clondaw Draft after the line, as it was apparent that the horse was not dismounted immediately when it had appeared to have gone lame when pulled up to a trot after the finishing line.

"However, on review of the video, Mr Hughes' evidence in the inquiry that he dismounted as soon as he considered that the horse was lame, and the view of the BHA's veterinary officer that it wasn't possible to ascertain precisely whether the horse was lame at a walk – only at a trot – it is the view of the BHA that Mr Hughes dismounted at the appropriate time based on his own best judgement.

"As such, the view of the BHA is that the action taken by Mr Hughes did not place him in breach of the Rules.

"We appreciate the PJA's and Mr Hughes' understanding that there are times when reviewing a stewarding decision made on the day is required, even if the original decision was well-intentioned and aimed to reassure the public of racing's integrity and stance on equine welfare."

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