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Lydia Hislop on BHA verdict | 'Perhaps usual protocols are not to be applied'

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

20:55 2 Mar 2021

Lydia Hislop joined Off The Ball on Tuesday where she gave a British perspective on the Gordon Elliott controversy, which continued to drag on.

The IHRB has confirmed a hearing for Friday, while horses have been removed from the yard on the day it was confirmed Tiger Roll will not run at Aintree.

The BHA have made an unusual move and declined entries from the Gordon Elliott yard until the investigation has concluded, effectively pressurising the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) to ban the Cullentra trainer.

"It is an unusual move but I can't say whether it is unprecedented," admitted Hislop.

"Generally the authority who holds the licence would be the authority that would act, and other authorities would reciprocate that decision.

"Here the BHA have acted unilaterally and very unusually. I think there are going to have to be bridges built between the Irish authorities and the British Authorities after this.

"Seeing it from the British perspective, they are acting on behalf of the sport. as a whole. Not just British racing, Irish racing too and the sport in general.

"Just as there has been in Ireland there has been a massive backlash to that image and the British Horseracing Authority felt it needed to do some damage limitation.

"That's why they stepped in and made this call and they made it at a time when it wasn't clear at what point the IHRB were going to have a hearing process.

"They acted decisively and unusually and it is going to require some bridge-building afterwards.

"I do think they did it in the best interests of the sport."

Will the IHRB be enamoured with the BHA decision to ban Gordon Elliott?

"No, I don't think they will," Hislop said.

"It is so unusual and the normal protocol is to wait and reciprocate, rather than the other way around.

"However, I would stress, it is a highly unusual situation so perhaps usual protocols are not to be applied."

Lydia did not wish to speculate on the nature of the punishment that will be issued to Elliott from the IHRB but did specify the only power the BHA has over trainers it does not licence is to "deny entries to races in their jurisdiction. The ball is very much in the IHRB's court."


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