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Fallon assailant gets slap on the wrist

GIVEN its draconian treatment of Kieren Fallon, when he was falsely accused of criminal conduct, some might consider the British Horseracing Authority to have been fairly indulgent in its punishment of the racehorse owner who violently assaulted the former champion jockey at Lingfield 10 days ago.

David Reynolds was yesterday banned from all racing premises for just three months.

He was, however, also given a heavy fine. Even people who buy racehorses, after all, are liable to smart over the loss of £10,000.

But the BHA disciplinary panel could have "warned off" Reynolds for up to three years after finding him guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute, and also of violent conduct.

Certainly, the BHA chose no half-measures when suspending Fallon's licence in 2006, after he was charged with a conspiracy that would eventually be laughed out of the Old Bailey.

Reynolds can presumably count himself fortunate there were no police at Lingfield.

Fallon was punched in the unsaddling enclosure, after a race in which The Scorching Wind had started favourite. Reynolds, who part-owns The Scorching Wind, blamed Fallon's riding of Elna Bright for what was evidently an expensive defeat.

Reynolds, 45, issued a statement through his solicitor. "I deeply regret what happened at Lingfield," the construction boss said. "I have apologised to Kieren Fallon, and everybody involved in the incident, and now wish to put this matter behind me."

Paul Struthers, the BHA spokesman, insisted that the disgraceful episode had been dealt with proportionately.

"The entry point penalty for violent conduct toward an official is a fine of £5,000 or a disqualification of three months," he explained. "So the panel has gone above the entry point by disqualifying Mr Reynolds for that period and, in addition to that ban, fining him £10,000."