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BHA withdraws charge against jockey

The British Horseracing Authority is under fire for mistakenly charging a jockey with not allowing a horse to run on its merits.

Martin Harley was charged last week after the BHA said the potential breach had been detected by its internal post-race review processes.

But the BHA admits it did not speak to the officials at Chelmsford where Harley had told the clerk of the course immediately after the race he had been denied a clear run and he had then given his mount time to recover after he took a wrong step.

“On the basis of the ride itself and the evidence considered by the team at head office we remain of the view that it was correct to take a further look at this ride, and the charges that ensued were based on this evidence,” BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said.

“However, it later became clear that there were two elements of the rider’s report to BHA officials on the day. One element had not been recorded.

“Had this information been known we would not have pressed charges.

“We apologise to Martin that the charges were brought in this manner.”

Professional Jockeys Association chief executive Paul Struthers said Harley was understandably upset.

“Whilst we are obviously pleased that the charges have been withdrawn, Martin remains very disappointed and angry that they were issued in the first place,” Struthers said in a statement.

“Because of this it has been reported that Martin was charged with ‘non-trying’ when that wasn’t what he was charged with and when that wasn’t the case. Martin is very upset about having his name dragged through the mud.

“Stewards make decisions under significant time pressure and everyone accepts that there will be occasions when they don’t get it right and their decisions get overturned on appeal.

“Those time pressures don’t exist when a case is reopened and therefore there is no excuse for getting it wrong, when doing so could cause significant damage to someone’s career.”

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