Independent Judicial Panel Reduces Sean McBride's Corruption Ban Following BHA Oversight

The appeal board of the independent judicial panel has announced a reduction in the corruption ban imposed on Sean McBride from seven years to five years. This decision follows a reevaluation of the original findings prompted by the admission of an error by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) during the initial appeal process in May.

McBride, the son and former assistant to trainer Charlie McBride, originally faced a seven-year ban handed down by the judicial panel in January. This penalty stemmed from his involvement in the Danny Brock affair. McBride had placed a bet on Tricky Dicky to win a two-horse race at Southwell in March 2019, allegedly acting on information from Brock, who assured him that the other horse in the race, Samovar, would not be ridden on its merits.

During the January independent panel hearing, the BHA withdrew portions of its case against McBride concerning his alleged participation in the Brock conspiracy across multiple races in 2018-19. Instead, the focus shifted to the single instance of corrupt betting on the Southwell race.

The appeal panel, in its original May ruling, contended that proof of McBride's involvement in the conspiracy to stop Samovar was unnecessary to justify the seven-year sentence under rule (A)41.

Subsequently, the BHA acknowledged an error in its case preparation and the changes in penalty structure for such offenses prior to the ruling involving Kevin Ackerman and Kenneth McKay in 2015. This revelation led to the matter being returned to the appeal panel in order to rectify the public record.

In its revised findings, announced after the reconvened hearing on July 14, the appeal board noted that the BHA's change in strategy during the January hearing had resulted in a lack of clarity.

The appeal board's finding read: It appears that the recent establishment of clarity is largely due to the way in which the BHA presented its case.

The eleventh-hour decision to withdraw a significant part of the case against Mr. McBride left both him and the Panel grappling to address a different case on short notice. This unexpected shift fundamentally altered the landscape of the proceedings.

The range of bans for breaching rule (A)41 varies from five to 25 years, with an entry point of eight years. The original disciplinary panel had reduced the entry point by one year due to mitigating circumstances surrounding the situation of McBride's parents.

In its conclusion, the appeal panel determined that the singular breach focused on by the BHA should warrant a six-year ban, which was further reduced to five years considering the same mitigating factors.

The panel's conclusion stated: In light of the specifics of this case, our assessment is that the finding of Mr. McBride's indirect involvement in the dishonest arrangement to manipulate the race outcome carries limited weight.

His actions were calculated and displayed a degree of premeditated planning aimed at achieving substantial dishonest gains.