Trainer Harris’s flap leads to disqualification

There was no redemption for trainer John Harris on Good Friday, after the BHA’s Disciplinary Panel held its enquiry into the running of Fadhb Ar Bith under the name Liberate Palestine at Dingle in Ireland in August 2010.

Harris was subject to two charges. He admitted to acting in a manner prejudicial to horseracing in Great Britain, on the grounds that he had a close association with Gerard Faulkner, a disqualified person. Faulkner was the owner of Fadhb Ar Bith, and had been disqualified for four years back in 2007, yet Harris maintained he did not know either that Faulkner owned the horse or the period covered by his ban. Telephone evidence of contact between the two led to a fine of £2000.

The allegations around running Fadhb Ar Bith in a flapping race were more serious. The horse had run five times between March and July 2012, culminating in a victory at Carlisle. A few days later it was collected by its owner and after racing in Ireland returned to Harris’ yard. At issue was whether the horse had ceased to be trained by Harris; it was not at any time taken off his list of Horses in Training.

BHA intelligence had identified that Fadhb Ar Bith had run at a flapping meeting previously and was likely to do so at Dingle. Harris therefore insisted on the horse returning to his yard in an attempt to suggest it had been there all the time. Photographic evidence proved otherwise.

The BHA’s Disciplinary Panel found that Harris had many opportunities both before and after the flapping race at Dingle to tell Faulkner that he no longer wanted the horse in his yard, and to remove it from his list of horses registered with the authorities. His attempted cover up was, they said, an act of naivety rather than malice. Despite this, Harris himself was disqualified for four months from 6 April to 5 August.

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