Thursday 20 June 2019

Turner gets three-month ban over having betting account

Jockey and racing pundit Hayley Turner. Photo: John Walton/PA
Jockey and racing pundit Hayley Turner. Photo: John Walton/PA

Richard Chambers

Hayley Turner will "take on the chin" the three-month riding ban handed to her by the disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority after the opening of an internet betting account left her in breach of the rules governing betting by jockeys.

England's most successful female jockey officially retired from the saddle at the end of the 2015 turf season and after initially establishing a media career with At The Races and ITV Racing, Turner recently opted to return to race riding in France.

However, Turner's decision to open an online account following her initial retirement prompted a BHA inquiry as she technically still held a licence, leaving the rider in breach of the rules.

The ban takes immediate effect, although Turner is not disqualified, meaning she can visit and work on racecourses and other licensed premises.

She was said to be "absolutely devastated at her mistake" and "deeply embarrassed" by the situation when charges were announced earlier this month.

A contrite Turner, who will not appeal, said: "At the end of the day I made a huge mistake and have to suffer the penalty as I did break the rules. The problem was I saw myself as a television pundit rather than as a jockey, which explains as to why I started betting while working on ATR and on ITV.

Harsh

"Three months is a long time and I do think it is quite harsh, especially as I have a mortgage to pay, but I have just got to take it on the chin."

Turner, who was awarded an OBE for services to horse racing last year, had been carving out a good living in France, taking full advantage of the fact all female jockeys riding there now receive a 4.4lb allowance in the saddle.

Jamie Stier, chief regulatory officer at the BHA, said: "It is a strict requirement under the rules of racing in Britain that licensed jockeys do not place bets on any races."

Paul Struthers, chief executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said in a statement: ""Whilst pursuing her second career as a broadcaster, Hayley made occasional returns to the saddle either for invitational events or in preparation for those occasional events and although she didn't bet whilst riding in those events, the fact she was licensed and betting recreationally on British horseracing placed her in breach of the Rules of Racing.

"She has therefore been suspended for three months for what amounts to technical breaches of the Rules of Racing.

"This is on the one hand both disappointing and disproportionate to the offences in question and is going to prove very costly to Hayley."

Irish Independent

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