BHA stands firm as Hughes ban is upheld.
RICHARD HUGHES and Professional Jockeys Association chief Paul Struthers were last night left bemused by the BHA's continued insistence on reciprocating the 50-day suspension the jockey incurred in a country which has refused to sign up to a key international agreement on the treatment of riders.
Hughes will be unable to resume riding until May 1, just four days before the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, after the BHA appeal board supported the regulator and its disciplinary panel in asserting the Mumbai ban given to Hughes in February should be enforced in Britain.
The rider, who last night released a lengthy statement to racingpost.com, was accused by Royal Western India Turf Club stewards of failing to allow Jacqueline Smile to run on her merits.
However, Hughes and Struthers were unable to understand why the BHA chose to back up the Indian punishment given that India has not signed up to article ten of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities' agreement which states jockeys should be allowed legal representation during disciplinary hearings.
"I'm very disappointed," said Hughes. "Where I feel I've been let down is that the BHA has chosen to agree with the Indian stewards, who have found me guilty solely on the opinion of stewards and without any evidence or facts.
"I understand how the Indian system works but I thought I could have confidence in the BHA. The BHA is signed up to the international agreement so should surely adhere to it, but it has not. They've used their own rule to suspend me, which means there's no point in Britain being signed up to the international agreement."
Struthers added: "If India does not sign up to article ten of the international agreement, how they can be entitled to expect reciprocation and why does the BHA have a separate rule that totally undermines the international agreement?" BHA director of regulation Jamie Stier said: "We would like to register on record that we recognise the frustration felt by Richard Hughes about this episode while at the same time endorsing the findings of both the disciplinary panel and the appeal board.
"We will be looking to see if there are any lessons to learn which may assist the handling of such matters in the future." Read Richard Hughes's full reaction to the BHA decision in a statement on racingpost.com