Suzi Best granted licence to train from husband Jim's yard
Nine months after her husband was banned from racing, Suzi Best is primed to send out her first runners from a team of 17 horses after the BHA on Wednesday approved her application to train from his yard.
Jim Best was given a six-month suspension last December after being found guilty of ordering jockey Paul John to stop two horses.
It is understood Best, who saddled more than 200 winners over 12 seasons from his stables in Lewes, East Sussex, is now retraining to become a hairdresser.
At a previous inquiry in April 2016, at which he faced the same charges, Best received a four-year disqualification, which was subsequently rescinded owing to the BHA's botched handling of the case.
Under the terms of his wife’s licence Best will not attend any racecourse where his wife has a runner, and he will not represent her in any way, or make any comment on the horses in her training, to the press or media.
The BHA’s licensing committee said a list of conditions, which have not all been made public yet, had been attached to the licence to "ensure that the operation is a new independent training entity and that Mrs Best is in sole charge".
The confirmation of his wife's licence ends a lengthy wait as her application was entered in December and first considered in June. It is, however, contingent on a satisfactory reinspection of Grandstand Stables by the BHA. Best's yard has been shut down since December following his ban.
Suzi Best, who is 38, plans to run horses over jumps and on the Flat and her 17 horses are a mixture of newcomers and those passed on from her husband.
Best’s solicitor, George Primarolo, said: "Suzi hopes this whole process will be wrapped up within the next month or so if not before so that she can send out her first runners. She has been operating it like a pre-training yard, keeping them ticking over.
"She wants to be training as soon as possible. From her point of view, the sooner the better, as her owners have been very patient in this process."
In a statement, Primarolo added: "Despite an interminable process, Suzi Best is thrilled to have been granted a trainer’s licence by the British Horseracing Authority.
"The last 12 months have been a particularly trying time for Suzi and her family which has put an enormous amount of strain on the business at Grandstand Stables.
"However, Suzi is now focused on making a successful start to her training career and would like to thank the owners at her yard who have shown great loyalty over the past few months."
The licensing committee’s hearing into Best’s application was adjourned on June 19 and completed nearly three months later on September 12. The full written reasons for their decision have yet to be disclosed.
In response to the outcome the BHA explained that having gathered the relevant information to consider Best’s application it had referred the matter to the licensing committee for further exploration and consideration because "there were some matters of concern”.
In a statement it added: "It is the BHA’s duty, in the best interests of the sport, to ensure that all licence applications are given appropriate consideration. Whilst most licence applications are determined by the BHA, in appropriate circumstances the BHA may refer matters to the licensing committee for an impartial and independent decision on its merits.
"This is why we have a licensing committee which acts independently from the BHA.
"The BHA is satisfied that a fair and reasonable process has been followed for all parties and we await the full decision and reasons of the committee, and full details of the conditions which have been placed on the licence."
John, who admitted his part in the Jim Best saga and accepted he was wrong to agree to stop the horses, said in December that he hoped the trainer's wife would not be granted a licence as it would "make a mockery" of the disciplinary process.