BHA admits 'anxiety' over Best licence application
The reservations held by the BHA and the licensing committee when they granted Suzi Best's application to take over from her husband Jim were laid bare on Friday, when the full list of conditions attached to the licence were revealed.
Last December Jim Best was suspended for six months after being found guilty of ordering jockey Paul John to stop two horses. Following that decision Suzi Best applied to take over the running of Grandstand Stables yard in Lewes, and her application was granted this month.
However, a set of conditions were attached to her licence in what amounts to a concerted effort to ensure the training operation is independent from her husband – who is retraining to be a hairdresser – and that she is in sole charge of the yard.
Ten conditions have been handed down by the licensing committee, which operates independently from the BHA and is used by racing's governing body to provide objective, impartial decisions on certain applications.
It was already known before Friday that Best would not be allowed to be on any racecourse where his wife has a runner and cannot act as a spokesman on her behalf to the media, but various other conditions have now been revealed.
He is not permitted to become a business officer or shareholder of Suzi Best Racing Limited and will not be allowed any official function within the yard, although he will be allowed to ride work, on an ad hoc basis.
Regarding Suzi Best, the conditions state she will not be allowed to accept any horse whose ownership is linked to, or managed by, her husband.
She will also not be allowed to have an apprentice or conditional jockey attached to the yard, and must provide a written communication setting out the basis and conditions of her licence, which will be then provided to the BHA and all her owners and stable staff.
Commenting on the release of the conditions, the BHA head of media Robin Mounsey said: “The BHA’s position regarding Mrs Best’s application, having gathered the relevant information to consider it, was that there were some matters of concern which meant that we felt that it should be referred to the licensing committee for further exploration and consideration.
“The committee states that it shared 'anxiety' about the application, and as a result have made the decision to grant a licence but only upon the completion by Mrs Best of a number of initial requirements and further, that Mrs Best accepts an extensive set of conditions attached to the licence."