Jim Best’s wife applies to train

Jim Best's wife Suzie has applied for a trainer's licence in a bid to take over the running of the suspended trainer's yard, according to her husband's solicitor.

Jim Best: Suspended from the sport for six months.

The Lewes-based handler was on Monday given a six-month suspension, with no financial penalty, by a British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel following a rehearing into the running and riding of two horses in December last year.

Following the rehearing, Best was given seven days to lodge an appeal, but his solicitor, Harry Stewart-Moore, confirmed to Press Association Sport: "Mrs Best made an application for a trainer's licence earlier this week."

The disciplinary panel ruled Best had instructed conditional jockey Paul John to ride Echo Brava and Missile Man other than on their merits and that they were "stopping rides".

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Best was also found to be in breach of the rule governing conduct prejudicial to horseracing.

The trainer, who denied all charges, was originally found in breach at a hearing in February, leading to a four-year disqualification.

But it emerged the chairman of the disciplinary panel at that hearing, solicitor Matthew Lohn, was engaged by the BHA on other matters, giving rise to claims of an appearance of bias in favour of the governing body.

At Best's appeal in May, the guilty verdict and penalty were quashed and a rehearing ordered, with the BHA having conceded that while there was "no suggestion of any actual bias" in the case, the non-disclosure of Lohn's other work "created an appearance of bias". The appeal board also said the disciplinary panel's reasons for its findings "were clearly insufficient to support its decision in this case".

John was never disqualified from the sport nor excluded from racecourses, but he was banned for 150 days – between December 21, 2015 to May 19 this year – when he was unable to apply for a licence.

The case revolved around the performances of Echo Brava at Plumpton on December 14 and Missile Man at Towcester on December 17. Both horses finished unplaced.

When contacted for comment, the BHA said they could neither confirm or deny the application, as it was a private matter.

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