Skip to content

BHA chief Brant Dunshea dismisses 'crisis' talk over stewarding and interference incidents after 'laughing stock' criticism

A number of high-profile incidents, including Robert Havlin's overturned ban, have brought the issue of racing's careless and dangerous riding rules into the spotlight; former champion jockey Seb Sanders labels sport a 'laughing stock'

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The BHA's chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea dismissed talk of a 'crisis' in stewarding after a number of interference incidents, including Rab Havlin's overturned ban in the Lancashire Oaks.

The British Horseracing Authority’s chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea has dismissed talk of race stewarding being in ‘crisis’ despite one former champion jockey claiming recent interference controversies make the sport a “laughing stock”.

A number of high-profile incidents in recent weeks have brought the issue of racing's careless and dangerous riding rules into the spotlight, with Free Wind's victory in this month's Lancashire Oaks causing a huge stir.

Following a coming together between the winner and jockey Robert Havlin, who kept the race after an enquiry, and Jim Crowley's mount Eshaada, Havlin was handed a five-day ban only for the BHA to rescind the suspension on review.

Watch the King George on Sky Sports Racing

Watch the King George on Sky Sports Racing

Don't miss the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes from Ascot on Saturday 23 July on Sky Sports Racing

The BHA has postponed a separate appeal, brought by owners Amo Racing, against the stewards' decision not to reverse the placings in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, which saw victor The Ridler veer drastically across the track and led to a 10-day ban for rider Paul Hanagan.

Former champion jockey Seb Sanders feels the current rules are not a satisfactory deterrent to prevent careless riding, telling Sky Sports Racing: "We've got to find a way of stopping them doing this because there is going to be a crash soon and it could cost a jockey or a horse their life. Why do we have to wait for something serious to happen?

"We're meant to be the best in the world but we're a laughing stock at the moment."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Former champion jockey Seb Sanders has described the recent stewarding decisions and bans regarding interference as 'a laughing stock'.

Addressing the matter on the Racing Debate, Dunshea told Sky Sports Racing the BHA is open to discussion on the matter, adding: "We have full confidence in our team on the ground who are there day in, day out making these decisions.

Also See:

"Specifically in relation to the Havlin case, that demonstrated a very proper and thorough process in that a decision as taken on the day but then there is a system that enables the BHA to review and ultimately, in this instance, make a decision to quash the penalty.

"Decision-making is very subjective and the reason we have a panel is to ensure, as best we can, have a consistent approach to the application of the rules.

Recent interference incidents

Norfolk Stakes (June 16) - Paul Hanagan receives 10-day ban for winning ride on The Ridler after veering across rivals. Winner survives stewards' enquiry but owners Amo Racing have appealed.

Lancashire Oaks (July 2) - Rab Havlin receives 5-day ban which is later rescinded by the BHA. Winner survives stewards' enquiry

Coral-Eclipse (July 2) - Christophe Soumillon receives 12-day ban for careless riding when celebrating Vadeni's win. Soumillon has appealed

Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (July 8) - Winner Mawj survives stewards' enquiry and rider Ray Dawson receives 3-day ban. Dawson says: "That's fair enough – we did drift across and you have to be punished for that."

"The stewards that were involved in this particular case had more than 50 years experience between them.

"More than anything else it is important to make sure the process is fair. We should never rush decisions and that's what we encourage our stewards to do.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Racing expert Kevin Blake says Paul Hanagan's ride on Norfolk Stakes winner The Ridler should not be accepted after the winner survived a stewards' enquiry despite appearing to interfere with rivals.

"There is a deterrent there but the question we have to ask ourselves is: Is the deterrent sufficient enough to deter jockeys from taking a little more care?

"We have some of the most skilful jockeys in the world and 95 per cent of the time they're riding carefully and within the rules."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports Racing's Matt Chapman quizzed the BHA's Brant Dunshea on the Racing Debate over Tuesday's whip consultation results and potential changes to whip rules.

Asked if the sport's stewarding and interference rules were in crisis, Dunshea replied: "I don't think it's right to categorise the current situation as a crisis but of course, the BHA is open to sitting down with stakeholders to understand everyone's views and make adjustments if necessary.

"Yes we've had a number of issues in the last eight to 12 weeks, but in the six months prior to that we barely had an appeal. We need to ensure that when looking at this we do it in a thorough way that ensures we're not reacting to a small number of incidents at just this particular moment.

"We need to ensure that whatever we do is fit for purpose and serve us for all fixtures through the year."

Get racing news on your phone

Get racing news on your phone

Never miss a story with all the latest racing news, interviews and features on your phone. Find out more

Around Sky