Dwyer successful in BHA application
Martin Dwyer was relieved to put what he described as an "awful" period behind him after a disciplinary panel at the British Horseracing Authority decided not to reciprocate the 56-day ban he received in India.
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The Derby-winning jockey has made a number of visits to the subcontinent to argue his case after it was alleged he did not ride the filly Ice Age on her merits at Mahalaxmi back in February, and at one stage the suspension was increased to eight months on appeal by the Royal Western India Turf Club.
It was subsequently returned to 56 days on a second appeal and Dwyer, who has always professed his innocence, was down to his final option in asking the BHA not to impose the ban in Britain at all, enabling him to continue riding.
A head-on video of the race showed Ice Age drift towards the rail in the closing stages, during which time Dwyer's mount bumped the eventual runner-up and caused the jockey to snatch up his mount.
RWITC stewards called an inquiry and announced the horse was to be deemed a non-starter, with all bets refunded. Dwyer always maintained that he was innocent of any wrong-doing, and that his mount had not moved correctly and that she had suffered a nosebleed during the race.
Dwyer said: "I'm pleased and relieved it's all over because it has dragged on for eight months. I fought it the whole way and I'm pleased I've come out the right side.
"It's not been great. I've been going backwards and forwards to India the whole year and have had it hanging over me with the thought of not being able to earn a living with a young family.
"It has just been awful but with the help of Paul Struthers and the Professional Jockeys Association, as well as Graeme (McPherson, barrister) and Andrew (Chalk, solicitor) doing a great job, they have helped me through a tough time.
"I've said exactly the same thing on the day of the race, the day after and every day since that I didnt do anything wrong. The filly was beaten because she didn't run in a straight line, and the reason she didn't run in a straight line was because there was something wrong with her. I've always defended my ride.
"I think my time in India has probably come to a close - I probably wouldn't be welcomed back there anyway. It's sad in a way because I've had some great times there."
Struthers said jockeys should remain careful about deciding whether to ride in India.
He said: "Our advice to them is that it's not our job to tell our members what to do, but what we do say is to be very, very cautious who you are going to ride for, and if you are planning going out, we advise them to come and speak to us first.
"I don't know of any jockeys definitely planning to go (this winter). There'll be one or two that may go, but I know of jockeys that definitely aren't going that otherwise would have done."
Struthers added: "The decision not to reciprocate the suspension brings to an end to what has been a particularly stressful and worrying period for Martin and his family. Martin is thankful to everyone who has expressed their support and particularly to Graeme McPherson QC who represented him."
Jamie Stier, director of raceday operations and regulation for the BHA, said: "As signatories to the International Agreement the BHA's starting point is to recognise the principle of reciprocation of penalties incurred by British riders abroad. However, this is in the expectation that the individual is afforded the tenets of natural justice.
"In this particular case, it was our view that these basic principles were not upheld by the RWITC and this was reflected in the BHA's presentation to the disciplinary panel.
"Consequently, the BHA supports the decision of the disciplinary panel not to reciprocate the suspension imposed by the RWITC on Martin Dwyer.
"It was the BHA's view that there were a number of areas during the process which fell short of being demonstrably fair and were not in accordance with the principles of natural justice. One such example being the decision of the RWITC stewards to make a finding that Ice Age had not been run on her merits and declare her a non-runner, before conducting an inquiry and hearing from Martin Dwyer.
"We will be sharing with the RWITC the concerns the BHA set out to the disciplinary panel."
Last year Richard Hughes picked up a 50-day ban in India, although he was unsuccessful in his efforts towards non-reciprocation of the ban by the BHA.
He said today: "I'm happy for Martin. Other than that, no comment."