UK jockey Tom Marquand succeeds with appeal over Bath suspension

Tom Marquand, Appeal

1. On 23 May 2019 the independent Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) heard an appeal lodged by Mr Tom Marquand, a licensed jockey, against the decision of the Stewards at Bath on the 15 May 2019 to find him to be in breach of Rule (B)54.1 of the Rules of Racing.  As a consequence of this finding the Stewards suspended Mr Marquand for a period of 9 days.  The allegation was that Mr Marquand, riding GHEPARDO, was guilty of careless riding in that he consistently encouraged his horse to manoeuvre right when there was not sufficient room causing Liam Jones, the rider of MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE, to be shifted to the right and onto David Probert, the rider of POWERFUL DREAM (IRE), resulting in Mr Jones becoming tight for room and MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE clipping heels and unseating him.  The incident in question occurred in the closing stages of the race on the approach to, and at, the dog leg bend in the home straight.

2. By a letter dated the 17 May 2019 an appeal was lodged on behalf of Mr Marquand against the above decision of the Stewards at Bath and the penalty imposed on the basis that the “finding and penalty handed down …… was incorrect”.

3. The BHA was represented by Mr Lyn Williams and Mr Marquand, who attended the hearing, was represented by Mr Rory Mac Neice.

4. No objection was taken to the constitution of the Panel.  It was made known prior to the start of the hearing that Mr Mac Neice had sometime previously represented Mr Mogford at an enquiry when the latter rode as a professional jockey.  In addition, Mr Mogford declared that earlier this year Mr Marquand rode a horse for Mr Mogford’s employer who is a licensed trainer.  Neither party raised any concerns or objections in relation to these two matters.

5. The Panel reminded itself that the appeal hearing was a rehearing and the Panel approached the matter on that basis.
The Background

6. The race in question was The “Around the Paddock” At Fillies’ Handicap Stakes (Class 5) run at 5.55p.m. at Bath on the 15 May 2019.  There were 9 runners but the runners of relevance to this appeal are:-

KATH’S LUSTRE ridden by Shane Kelly
POWERFUL DREAM (IRE) ridden by David Probert
GHEPARDO ridden by Tom Marquand
MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE ridden by Liam Jones

7. The case for the BHA was that from just over two furlongs out Mr Marquand was behind KATE’S LUSTRE, POWERFUL DREAM (IRE) and MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE and that he was looking for a gap through which to take GHEPARDO.  The BHA submitted that Mr Marquand committed to go for a gap that, in reality, was never reasonably there and that he could not reasonably have expected to get through the gap without causing interference and that the only way he could negotiate the gap was to take his filly through at an angle.  It was further submitted that in going for the gap Mr Marquand’s filly leant on and pushed MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE off line, and to the right, thereby causing interference.  Mr Jones, the rider of MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE, could not be pushed further right because POWERFUL DREAM (IRE) was on his outside and keeping a firm line and therefore Mr Jones had to take a pull and in doing so MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE clipped heels and unseated Mr Jones.

8. The case for the BHA was that interference was caused and that it was caused by Mr Marquand.  It was suggested that the careless riding was caused by a misjudgement on the part of Mr Marquand.  The BHA called no live witnesses but relied on the race day videos which showed the events from various angles.  The Panel also had the benefit of the transcript of the Steward’s enquiry conducted on the day of the race.

9. Mr Marquand gave evidence to the Panel.  The BHA had sent copies of the relevant and available race day videos to Mr Marquand prior to the hearing and Mr Marquand was familiar with their contents and he used the videos to supplement and support his evidence.  In essence he said that he was familiar with the filly GHEPARDO having ridden her a number of times over the last two years.  He said that Bath is a somewhat awkward track and the ground was quick.  He said that he had no specific instructions from the trainer who “left it to me”.  Mr Marquand indicated that a gap appeared but he waited for about 10 strides and he took the view that MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE was going to weaken as she had been off the bridle for a long way.  He said that he started to get his filly “revved up” to go for the gap about two furlongs out.  Mr Marquand said that an appropriate gap opened up and that he went for it.  He accepted that the horses in front of him were moving about and not maintaining a consistent gap between themselves.  He said that he went for the gap and he caused no interference.  He did, however, accept that soon thereafter interference was caused but contended that that was entirely due to his filly changing her legs to the right lead which caused her to go to the right.  This was approximately at the apex of the left hand dog-leg bend in the home straight.  Mr Marquand said that his filly, at this stage, wanted to “go straight on” and that he took every measure possible to pull his horse off MOOROVERTHEBRIDGE.  Put shortly, the case for Mr Marquand was that it was entirely legitimate to go for the gap initially and no interference was caused at that stage.  Whilst he accepted that interference was ultimately caused he contended that that only occurred when his filly changed legs at about the apex of the bend and that that caused her to move to the right which was a movement which was beyond his control.
Findings and Decision
10. The Panel finds that there was clear and obvious interference.  The Panel was impressed with the clear, lucid and convincing evidence which was given by Mr Marquand.  We are not convinced by the submission made on behalf of the BHA that Mr Marquand is to be criticised because he had to go through the gap at an angle since we take the view that this is often the case in races week in and week out and is simply part of racing.  Although the gap which Mr Marquand went through ultimately was tight we do not accept that it was careless to attempt to do so.  In any event we reject the submission that interference was caused by so doing.  In our view it is clear and obvious that the interference was caused immediately after GHEPARDO changed her lead leg at the apex of the bend. This caused her to move to the right when the other horses were negotiating the left hand dog-leg in the home straight.  The events which followed were very unfortunate but cannot, in our view, be attributed to the riding of Mr Marquand.  We also note that the video clearly shows that Mr Marquand attempted to pull his filly to the left when she changed her legs.  Accordingly this appeal must be allowed and the interference, in our view, was accidental.

12. In fairness to the Stewards at Bath, we feel that it is appropriate to remember that this Panel had the benefit of helpful arguments from both representatives and the facility of being able to view and re-view the videos without any time constraints.  These are luxuries that are not available to the Stewards on the day of the race.

13. Accordingly, we order the return of Mr Marquand’s deposit.

The Panel for the Appeal was: David Fish QC (Chair), Jodie Mogford and John de Moraville.