Suzie Best "thrilled" after being granted training licence by BHA committee

Wed 20 Sep 2017

By staff

Suzie Best said she was "thrilled" after being granted a training licence by the licensing committee of the British Horseracing Authority.

Best is the wife of Lewes-based handler Jim Best, who was given a six-month suspension by the BHA disciplinary panel last December after it ruled Best had instructed conditional jockey Paul John to ride Echo Brava and Missile Man other than on their merits and that they were "stopping rides".

Suzie Best's solicitor, George Primarolo of Harrowells Solicitors, said in a statement: "Despite an interminable process, Suzie Best is thrilled to have been granted a trainer's licence by the British Horseracing Authority."

He went on: "The last 12 months have been a particularly trying time for Suzie and her family which has put an enormous amount of strain on the business at Grandstand Stables.

"However, Suzie is now focused on making a successful start to her training career and would like to thank the owners at her yard who have shown great loyalty over the past few months."

Jim Best originally received a four-year ban, but this was quashed on appeal after it emerged the chairman of the disciplinary panel at that hearing, solicitor Matthew Lohn, was engaged by the BHA on other matters, giving rise to claims of an appearance of bias in favour of the governing body.

An appeal board also said the disciplinary panel's reasons for its findings ''were clearly insufficient to support its decision in this case''.

Suzie Best will train from Grandstand Stables, formerly run by her husband, who has always insisted his innocence but decided not to appeal the verdict after the re-hearing.

There are a number of conditions attached to the licence, which have yet to be finalised, however, including Jim Best not being allowed to attend any racecourse where his wife has a runner. He is also not allowed to represent her in any way, or make any comment on the horses in her training, to the press or media.

Suzie Best's licence confirmation ends a lengthy wait as her application was originally entered in December, when the yard was shut down, and was followed by hearings in June and earlier this month.

A statement issued by the BHA head of media Robin Mounsey read: "The licensing committee has made the decision to grant Mrs Best a combined trainer's licence. We have been informed that some conditions have been attached to the licence, full details of which we await from the committee.

Jim Best update pic

Jim Best will not being allowed to attend any racecourse where his wife has a runner

"It is the BHA's duty, in the best interests of the sport, to ensure that all licence applications are given appropriate consideration. Whilst most licence applications are determined by the BHA, in appropriate circumstances the BHA may refer matters to the licensing committee for an impartial and independent decision on its merits.

"The BHA's position regarding Mrs Best's application having gathered the relevant information to consider it, was that there were some matters of concern which meant that we felt that it should be referred to the licensing committee for further exploration and consideration.

"This is why we have a licensing committee, which acts independently from the BHA. The BHA is satisfied that a fair and reasonable process has been followed for all parties and we await the full decision and reasons of the committee, and full details of the conditions which have been placed on the licence."

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