Martin Dwyer 'relieved' as BHA lifts threat of 56-day suspension


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The Independent Online

Martin Dwyer is able to put what he described as an "awful" period behind him after a disciplinary panel at the British Horseracing Authority decided not to enforce in Britain the 56-day ban he received in India.

The hearing in London brought to an end a chain of events which began in February when it was alleged Dwyer did not ride the filly Ice Age on her merits at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai, provoking disturbances at the course.

Royal Western India Turf Club stewards called an inquiry and announced the horse was to be deemed a non-starter, with all bets refunded. Dwyer always maintained he was innocent of any wrongdoing, and that his mount had not moved correctly and had suffered a nosebleed during the race. At one stage the suspension was increased to eight months on appeal by the Turf Club. It was subsequently returned to 56 days on a second appeal and Dwyer, who has always professed his innocence, was down to his final option in asking the BHA not to impose the ban in Britain.

"I'm pleased and relieved it's all over because it has dragged on for eight months," Dwyer said. "I've been going backwards and forwards to India the whole year and have had it hanging over me with the thought of not being able to earn a living with a young family. I think my time in India has probably come to a close – I probably wouldn't be welcomed back there anyway."

Dwyer's solicitor, Andrew Chalk, added: "This case raises the question of whether the current rule on reciprocation of bans imposed by other Turf authorities should be reviewed, with greater discretion being given to the disciplinary panel regarding decisions in some jurisdictions."

Last year Richard Hughes picked up a 50-day ban in India, although he was unsuccessful in his effort to persuade the BHA not to apply the penalty. "I'm happy for Martin, other than that, no comment," Hughes said.

Another jockey with cause for celebration was Joseph O'Brien, whose three winners at Navan took him to 117 for the season and past Mick Kinane's record for an Irish Flat jockey of 115, set in 1993. "Everyone knows it's not easy for him to do 9st and it's a great achievement," said O'Brien's father, trainer Aidan O'Brien.