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Racing: Ex-trainer warned off for a year

The former assistant trainer Michael Harris was warned off for a year at a Jockey Club disciplinary hearing yesterday over the disappearance of My Bayard at Wolverhampton.

The six-year-old was taken from the Dunstall Park stable complex just over an hour before what would have been his first appearance for trainer John Balding last November.

Harris, previously assistant to the horse's former trainer, John O'Reilly, was found to have breached the rules by gaining unauthorised access to the racecourse stables with the deliberate intention of removing My Bayard.

The panel found that Harris arrived at Wolverhampton in an empty horse box and used his familiarity with the guards on duty to gain access to the course stables and discover the location of My Bayard before removing the gelding.

The panel accepted an admission from Harris that his actions had been prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of racing. They declared him to be disqualified for a year from 24 June.

The action appears to have been due to a dispute over ownership. The horse carried the colours of the Yorkshire businessman Jack Saul.

My Bayard was missing for four weeks but had to be put down due to colitis within days of his return to Balding's Doncaster stable.