Warned-off Mahdi seeking early return
KAMIL MAHDI, who was warned off for ten years in September 2003 following his conviction for causing unnecessary suffering to five horses, has sounded out the BHA about making an early comeback to the training ranks.
Magistrates banned Mahdi from keeping horses for life after he pleaded guilty to cruelty charges in a court case prosecuted by the RSPCA.
"I have asked the BHA about getting my disqualification reduced because I want to come back to work in racing again," said Mahdi, who appears confident the legal ruling does not prevent him returning asa trainer and is threatening to take his fight to the European courts if forced to serve the full disqualification.
"The BHA told me I could apply for a licence, but they advised me that, normally, 70 per cent of the sentence has to be served before they look at it. I have done five years, but I can't afford to wait another two. It is too much, horses are my life and are the only thing I understand.
"I have owners who will support me, so I will be applying for a licence and I will see what the BHA say. If I am turned down, they will be denying me the chance to earn my living and that is not allowed under European law."
Mahdi claims medical and domestic problems absolved him of responsibility for the treatment of Desert Warrior, Chillisima, Awassi, Hamadeen and Mount Holly between December 2001 and February 2002 when, although no longer a licensed trainer or registered owner, he was still based at Green Ridge Stables inNewmarket.
At the court hearing, Mahdi admitted the horses had been shut in their boxes for "at least" five days, and were forced to stand and lie in their faeces and urine.
"What happened to me was not my fault and it was a very harsh decision to disqualify me for ten years because I had already received my punishment from the court and you're not supposed to be punished twice," said Mahdi, who is best known for the accomplishments of Almushtarak, winner of the Sandown Mile in 1998 and later second to Dubai Millennium in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
"The court said I could not keep horses, but didn't say I couldn't work with them as a trainer."
BHA spokesman Paul Struthers confirmed Mahdi had contacted them about his ban, but indicated it would not be cut short.
Struthers said: "Anyone can apply to the disciplinary panel to have a decision reviewed. Normal practice would be to consider such an application after about three-quarters of the period had passed.
"In respect of a finding of cruelty, we would, in all likelihood, oppose the lifting of anyrestriction, although the final say would be taken by the disciplinary panel."