Skiffle (blue) finished fifth in the Oaks, 24 lengths behind MindingPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Godolphin fined £15,000 for flouting sponsor rules
GODOLPHIN were on Thursday fined £15,000 for breaching the sponsorship rules when Skiffle ran in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June.
A BHA disciplinary panel found Godolphin had flouted exclusivity arrangements with race sponsor Investec after Skiffle's groom wore the team's own sponsored jacket and chief executive John Ferguson instructed William Buick to remove tape put over the Emirates logo by a BHA official.
The fine issued by the panel was towards the higher end of the scale of financial penalty for the offence, which has a range of £1,000-25,000 and an entry point of £3,000. Ferguson did not attend the hearing at which Godolphin was represented by Hugh Anderson, Godolphin managing director.
'Clear and admitted breach of the rules'
BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: "The disciplinary panel found that a breach of Rule (A)39 - requirement to comply with controls on sponsorship - was committed by Godolphin at Epsom on Oaks day in that they instructed the attendant leading up Skiffle to wear a jacket carrying Godolphin's own sponsors logo, and instructed the rider to remove the tape that had been put over their sponsor's logo from his riding silks. These actions are prohibited because Investec have an exclusivity deal when it comes to sponsorship on Oaks and Derby day.
"The actions of Godolphin on the day were a clear and admitted breach of the rules, and it was appropriate for the BHA to pursue the matter and have the disciplinary panel consider what disciplinary action was warranted.
"However, we believe there is a wider question here as to whether the sport can do more to avoid potentially conflicting sponsorship arrangements and also whether the BHA's resources are best used enforcing rules which address issues more relevant to our sport's commercial parties. These topics have already been raised for discussion at a meeting of the sport's executive committee on September 12."