Jockey Club finds Williams acted contrary to owner’s instructions
The Jockey Club yesterday found trainer Evan Williams in breach of Rules 220 (iii) and 220 (viii) of the Rules of Racing for having acted in a manner “prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation” of horseracing and for misleading Jockey Club investigators.
The Disciplinary Panel of the Jockey Club held an Enquiry on the 15 November and 19 December into the destruction of a horse, INDIBAR (IRE), which had been trained by Mr Williams and whose owner, Mr Paul Cooper, claimed was destroyed on 6 March 2005 in direct contravention of his express orders.
There was no dispute that Mr Cooper had instructed Mr Williams to destroy INDIBAR. The issues were whether Mr Cooper had revoked that instruction and, if he did, whether he did so before the horse had been put down. Mr Cooper claimed that he had given this ‘revoking’ instruction to Mr Williams in a phone call soon after the original instruction; Mr Williams denied this. Mr Cooper claimed that the relevant telephone records evidence suggested this call had taken place at a time when the horse was in fact still alive; Mr Williams, again, denied this.
The Disciplinary Panel, consisting of Lord Rathcreedan (Chairman), Mr Stephen Allday and Mr Matthew Lohn, did not find Mr Williams’s denials credible, having taken into account the telephone records, the evidence before them from Mr Cooper and the subsequent calls between the relevant parties after the time the ‘revoking’ instruction was alleged to have been given. Of particular significance was Mr Williams’s initial acknowledgement in his first interview and subsequent denial in a later interview with Jockey Club investigators that he had received such a ‘revoking’ instruction.
Mr Williams was fined £2,500 for breaching Rule 220 (iii) (misleading Mr Cooper about the status of INDIBAR during the ‘revoking’ telephone conversation / destroying the horse contrary to instructions not to) and £5,000 in respect of the breach of Rule 220 (viii) (misleading Jockey Club investigators in the course of their investigations).
The Jockey Club was represented at the Enquiry by 5RB’s Godwin Busuttil.