BHA allows Keighley to continue training despite bankruptcy
THE BHA is allowing Martin Keighley to continue training after he was declared bankrupt on December 19.
Keighley, who labelled the support provided by the sport's governing body as "fantastic", has switched his licence from that of an individual to a limited company – for which he is a salaried trainer – so as not to allow the ongoing process to affect the day-to-day running of the yard.
Commissioners for HM Revenue & Customs petitioned for Keighley's bankruptcy on May 18. Keighley declined to confirm the amount in question but stated it related to "a historical VAT debt" and he was declared bankrupt by the High Court last month.
In the past trainers Milton Harris and Alan Jarvis were deemed unsuitable individuals to hold a licence after declaring bankruptcy, but with Keighley no longer solely responsible for the running of the business and effectively a salaried trainer the BHA decided to allow the operation to continue while the case develops.
BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: "As is standard practice, the BHA has been liaising with Martin Keighley regarding his bankruptcy in order to understand the specific circumstances involved. Bankruptcy may have an impact on a trainer's suitability to hold a licence, and all such cases are dealt with on their individual merits.
"Martin Keighley currently holds a trainer's licence following a change of employment status. The BHA will continue to liaise with Martin Keighley regarding the matter of his bankruptcy and assess any suitability issues based on how the situation progresses."
Keighley, who is most famous for winning – and then losing – last year's Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with Any Currency following a positive post-race test for painkiller triamcinolone acetonide for which he was found by the disciplinary panel to not be at fault, stated he carried no other debts and was keen to express his gratitude.
"We went to the BHA. They've known for a good while now, and they've been fantastic. They've helped a lot," Keighley exclusively told the Racing Post. "I am effectively a salaried trainer now and my owners have been very supportive. It all makes for a very positive future."
On how the new set-up will work, he explained: "It [the bankruptcy] won't affect things. We've set up a new business and are now trading as a limited company. The BHA have been fantastic in helping me transfer my licence over and it's quite exciting as, looking at the positives, the investment puts us in a better position to expand the business.
"I will retain full control of the training, but one of our owners, John Hughes, is the chairman of the new business and a couple more are directors. I really appreciate their support. It's brought some money into the business which will allow us to bring in some new horses."
Keighley's case is civil, rather than criminal, but bankruptcy is the start of the process, rather than the end, with the trustee now finalising a list of creditors and assets in a bid to recoup outstanding debts.