Quinn training ban cut to 18 months on appeal

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The Independent Online

Mick Quinn has vowed to keep his business afloat and not turn his back on racing despite yesterday failing to have his traininer's licence restored. On appeal, his original two-and-a- half year ban was cut to 18 months.

The first suspension, which said he should not apply for his licence until January 1, 2004, was reduced after yesterday's lengthy hearing before the appeals board.

Quinn, 39, arrived with his solicitor Peter McCormick 25 minutes ahead of the scheduled 11am start. When he emerged some three and a half hours later, he said only: "I just want to get out of this building."

However, McCormick, a prominent sports lawyer, claimed the reduction in the suspension was a partial victory and said that Quinn wanted to remain in racing.

McCormick said: "Obviously, in an ideal world we would have liked to have had the suspension wiped out altogether, but being realistic we never thought that was seriously on the cards. So to persuade the appeal board to take a year off the suspension was good news, and Mick is now going to concentrate on trying to keep his business together for the 18 months that remain.

Quinn had been informed prior to the appeal that an application for a trainer's licence on behalf of his partner, Karen Davies, daughter of former jump jockey Bob Davies, was unlikely to be entertained.

At the hearing before the disciplinary committee in June, Quinn admitted to being in breach of rule 51 of the Rules of Racing in that the overall condition of three horses – Winsome George, Arab Gold and Zola – "fell below that expected of a licensed trainer, indicative of a lack of care and skill on Quinn's part towards both the owners and horses in his charge".

A woman had complained to the RSPCA that the horses were in a poor condition while wintering in a paddock about a mile from Quinn's stable. Quinn, who had been on holiday in Tenerife at the time of the complaint, was said to be stunned at the outcome, having expected only a heavy fine.

The appeals board's decision means that Quinn's licence will be withdrawn tomorrow.

Jockey Club spokesman John Maxse said: "Despite the obvious gravity of the facts admitted by Quinn and the case proved against him, the board took the view that it would not be appropriate to the offence to impose such a penalty as might effectively end his career as a racehorse trainer on a permanent basis."

Despite his ban, Quinn is still free to pursue a living within racing.

Maxse said: "The ban is simply on him holding a licence to train, so does not affect his ability to go racing or work within racing. And he can still be registered as an owner."

It is understood that there would no restrictions on Quinn owning a yard, looking after horses or being employed as an assistant in another trainer's stable.

However, it is considered highly unlikely that any trainer would be able to operate from Quinn's East Manton Stables, at Sparsholt, near Wantage, while the yard remained in his possession.