Sir Anthony McCoy has criticised the decision of the British Horseracing Authority to fine trainer Henry Oliver for waving his arms at Burrenbridge Hotel in an attempt to get him to start at Uttoxeter.
McCoy, 20-times champion National Hunt jockey, took to Twitter on Sunday to voice his disapproval at the £140 punishment dished out to Oliver by the local stewards.
The eight-year-old had planted himself on the way to the start for the SWUK Steel Decking Handicap Chase, and Oliver went out on to the track to encourage his horse, who was eventually pulled up.
News of the fine emerged from the BHA’s account which releases information regarding stewards reports, with Oliver found guilty of “misconduct”.
It created quite a stir on social media with several prominent racing personalities questioning the punishment.
None more so than McCoy, who retweeted the original notice of the fine with the comment: “And for such stupidity I’m going to block @BHAStewards in case I end up reading again such embarrassing rubbish. How can our sport have such appalling decision makers in charge?”
In a response, the BHA issued the following statement through its press office Twitter account: “Trainers are not permitted to encourage their horses to start, and that rule is there for a good reason.
“We set a lot of store in our sport behind the fact that we do not force horses to race and that they do so of their own free will. Moreover, in the interests of a fair, even start, individual horses should not have the attentions of a trainer of representative to get them on their way.
“For these reasons only they jockeys and starters are permitted to effect or influence the start.
“Once the rule has been breached then a penalty will follow, otherwise the rule is not enforceable. However, we have an appeal system and Mr Oliver is able to appeal his penalty should he wish.”
Oliver told Press Association Sport he would not be appealing, saying: “It is worth appealing for the sake of £140?
“I didn’t even go down to the start to wave my arms about, I just went down to tell Sam (Twiston-Davies, jockey) that if you get off him and take him forward he’ll go forward for you – I wasn’t trying to get involved.
“Because they were 200 yards from the start I was just literally saying ‘go on, on your way’, I wasn’t trying to interfere with the start of the race.
“It was his last run for me, he’s going to the sales, and because he’s got plenty of ability but isn’t showing it I was just trying to give him every chance. He’s won us nice races and I was just trying to give him every chance.
“He is quirky, but I did apologise to the stewards. They asked if I’d asked permission and I hadn’t, but I only went down because the race was late off.
“The support I’ve had has been lovely, but ironically I didn’t go down there to do that, just to tell Sam to jump off.”