Ban on trainer for running horse after nerve surgery

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A British thoroughbred trainer has received a three-year ban for racing a horse nine times after the animal underwent a nerve-related leg operation that is banned in racehorses.

IanMcInnes, based in Catwick, received the ban from the British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel, which found that he had disregarded the welfare of Commando Scott.

He was also given a concurrent six-month ban for misleading officials during the investigation.

The operation, known as a biaxial neurectomy – essentially, a permanent nerve block – was carried out on Commando Scott to cut nerves in his right hind leg in July 2008. The surgery is banned for welfare reasons.

The disciplinary panel, comprising Matthew Lohn, Hopper Cavendish and Edward Dorrell, said that, at the outset of the hearing, counsel for McInnes admitted the rule breaches.

However, several matters remained in contention between McInnes and the authority, centering on McInnes’ knowledge of the surgical procedure and whether he ran the horse when aware that it a breach of the rules; and whether he had recklessly disregarded the welfare of Commando Scott.

During an interview, McInnes admitted to knowing that the gelding had gone for surgery, but said he was not aware of the intricacies of the procedure. McInnes said there may have been the possibility that the vet explained the procedure and the prohibition under racing rules, but he could not remember and so it may have “passed me by”.

The panel said it did not accept McInnes’ version of events as given in the interview.

“The veterinary surgeons had clearly recorded the advice they had given to both the owner and trainer in respect of the procedure and its implications for horses that were racing.

“In respect of the welfare issue, the BHA asserted that McInnes had recklessly disregarded the welfare of Commando Scott and running this gelding post-neurectomy was intrinsically not in the best interest of the horse.

“If, as asserted, McInnes did not know what the procedure was, then that disregarded the gelding’s welfare. Likewise – if McInnes knew of the procedure (as found by the panel), then running the gelding was equally disregarding of its welfare.

“The panel concluded that McInnes knew the gelding should not be ridden in races post the operation and that in continuing to do so, he disregarded the welfare of the gelding and indeed the safety of the jockey who was called upon to ride the gelding and, more widely, those horses and jockeys alongside which Commando Scott raced after the operation.”

The panel said a significant disqualification was required to mark the severity of the offence.

Commando Scott, a gelding, won nine of 77 starts and earned $206,532. He raced from the age of 2 until 9, in 2010.

 

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