Owner fined and disqualified over altercation with Fallon

RACEHORSE owner David Reynolds has been fined £10,000 and disqualified for three months after being found guilty of violent conduct against former champion jockey Kieren Fallon.

At a hearing of the disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority, Reynolds admitted being in breach of violent conduct and acting in a manner prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of racing in Britain.

Reynolds was alleged to have assaulted Fallon following the running of the Sportingbet Support Heros ‘Super 7’ Handicap at Lingfield on March 20.

The altercation took place when Reynolds was upset after his horse The Scorching Wind, who started favourite, finished ninth. He approached Fallon, the rider of last-placed Elna Bright in the unsaddling enclosure.

Paul Struthers, the BHA media relations manager, said: “The entry point penalty for violent conduct toward an official is a fine of £5000 or a disqualification of three months, so the panel has gone above the entry point by disqualifying Mr Reynolds for that period and, in addition to that ban, fining him £10,000.”

The Professional Jockeys Association welcomed the action taken by the disciplinary panel.

Chief executive Kevin Darley said: “We are very pleased that the BHA has dealt with this matter swiftly and that it has been made clear that such behaviour towards jockeys is completely unacceptable.

“We hope and believe that this was an isolated incident; however, there can be no repetition.

“One of the most attractive aspects of our sport is that spectators can get close to the participants.

“Jockeys welcome this and the relationship that we have with the racing public.

“We would not want this to be jeopardised.

“We do have concerns about a small number of meetings during the year when jockeys can feel under pressure, and we will be working with the Racecourse Association to address this.”

In releasing its reasons for the punishment, a statement from the disciplinary panel read: “When assessing penalty, the Panel was asked to take into account both the apologies which Mr Reynolds has now given and the fact that the incident was out of character.

“Mr Reynolds has no record, within or outside the racing environment, for violent behaviour.

“His business success has enabled him to indulge his long-standing enthusiasm for racing by owning a number of horses (currently four) in partnership with his business associate Mr Watkins.

“The Panel accepted that Mr Reynolds’ outburst was out of character, and caused by his frustration over a race that he had long targeted for The Scorching Wind.

“He had had bets to win of less than £1,000, the Panel was told, so it is unlikely that their failure was a substantial motive for his conduct.

“The Panel also took real account of the many testimonials it received to Mr Reynolds’ good character.

“But despite all these points in his favour, the Panel was nevertheless obliged to consider an appropriate response to an unpleasant, unprovoked assault which he was able to launch because he had privileged access to parts of the racecourse which ordinary racegoers do not have.

“It was an incident which not only amounted to a breach of Rule (A)32 – which deals with violent conduct – but also of Rule (A)30, because the nature of his violent conduct does clearly prejudice the good reputation and proper conduct of horseracing, in part because of the poor publicity for the sport that this has caused.

“In all these circumstances, the Panel did not feel that it could deal with this matter by a fine alone. Nobody should feel that they can continue to participate in racing by simply paying a fine as the price of such behaviour.

“Mr Reynolds must pay a fine of £10,000 and he will be disqualified for a period of three months from Tuesday April 6 to Monday July 5, 2010.

“However, the disqualification will not operate to prevent any dealings (whether concerning horseracing or otherwise) with his business and racing partner, Mr Watkins.”

The panel statement went on: “In reaching conclusions on penalty, the Panel got no real guidance from the recommendation for breach of Rule (A)32, which does not refer to the kind of case with which it is dealing.

“While the entry point recommendation for a breach of Rule (A)30 is a fine of “£2,000 or suspend/withdraw/disqualify 3 months“, the Panel decided to impose a heavier fine and a period of disqualification because of the unacceptable nature of the incident in question.

“The period of disqualification would have been longer but for Mr Reynolds’ genuine remorse and the fact that he had been, up until then, a person whose enthusiasm is what one wants to see in racing.”

* Turf Club officials will stage a course inspection at Gowran at 8.30am today to assess the prospects of racing on Wednesday.

Although the course is currently raceable, an adverse weather forecast has prompted an early check.

Turf Club press officer Cliff Noone said: “They really want to make a decision one way or another before declaration time on Tuesday. The situation is not great as the forecast is unsettled, with lots of rain forecast and also the possibility of sleet and snow.”

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