Jim Best handed four-year ban in non-triers case

Trainer Jim Best has been disqualified for four years and jockey Paul John banned for a period of 150 days when he cannot apply for a licence, having been found guilty of breaching the rules regarding the running and riding of two horses in December of last year.

Best and his former conditional rider John faced the British Horseracing Authority’s disciplinary panel last month over the performances of Echo Brava at Plumpton on December 14 and Missile Man at Towcester on December 17.

Both horses finished unplaced with Best and John accused of failing to ensure the horses ran on their merits.

John was banned for 14 days by the Plumpton stewards for his ride on Echo Brava after being found guilty of failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure the best possible placing, but this was subsequently amended with John charged with intentionally doing so, prompting a further charge for Best.

Following an inquiry, Best was found guilty of failing in his “duty to secure the best possible placing” on two occasions as well as “conduct prejudicial to horseracing in Great Britain.”

John was found guilty of two counts of failing to run a horse on its merits.

In its written reasons for the penalties, the disciplinary panel said it concluded Best “has forfeited the right to enjoy the privilege of being a licensed trainer for a significant period of time.

“The panel is mindful of the wider effects any period of disqualification will have on the owners who have horses with Best and the staff who rely upon Best for employment but that does not override the panel’s concern to appropriately censure Best.

“He is a dishonest individual who corrupted a young man to ensure horses were not run on their merits.”

The panel found John should be banned for 300 days but “having assessed John’s co-operation and the provision of information enabling action to be taken against Best have deemed that John should be entitled to the full reduction of one half.

“John’s penalty for the rides at Plumpton and Towcester will be a period of 150 days during which time he will be ineligible to apply for a licence. The Panel has also considered when the penalty should commence.

“In the panel’s view it would be apposite and fair in all the circumstances for the penalty to commence at the point John removed himself from Best’s yard - in effect he imposed a suspension upon himself at this point. John will therefore be ineligible to apply for a licence for 150 days from December 21, 2015 to May 19, 2016 inclusive.”

Adam Brickell, Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk for the BHA, said: “The case against Jim Best and Paul John concerned an issue that cannot be tolerated in British racing - the exploitation of a vulnerable young jockey by his employer in order to coerce him into breaking the rules of our sport to gain an unfair advantage.”

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