McBride: I'll use my winnings from bet on wrong horse to pay fine
Charlie McBride, who accidentally saddled the wrong horse at Yarmouth last month, revealed at a disciplinary hearing on Thursday that he placed a bet on the interloper and will use the £600 he won to help pay off a £1,500 fine issued for his role in the mix-up.
McBride ran three-year-old Millie's Kiss in the Read Silvestre De Sousa At 188Bet Novice Auction Stakes instead of two-year-old Mandarin Princess. He won £600 from a £10 each-way bet at 50-1 when the older filly duly beat her younger rivals.
McBride admitted that culpability for the mistake rested with him and accepted the BHA disciplinary panel's decision to impose a fine. The panel also disqualified Mandarin Princess, placing Fyre Cay first and promoting all other runners one position.
Speaking after the two-hour hearing during which his bet came to light, McBride, asked if he would use his winnings to pay the fine, said: "I will. Ian [Pattle, part owner] collected it. I put my bet on – it was a fun bet, it wasn’t a gambling bet. Most of the runners you run you hope would run well, so as support for the horse you’d put £10 each-way or £5 each-way.
"In this case I had £10 each-way and was hoping she might scrape into the first three as a fun bet. That’s all. The fine’s £1,500 so I’m still £1,000 out of pocket."
McBride was speaking after the disciplinary panel imposed a fine towards the upper end of the £500-£2,000 recommended scale for what they described as a high degree of "carelessness".
The panel, led by Patrick Milmo QC, and featuring David Fish and Jenny Pitman, stated they had "some difficulty accepting what Mr McBride told us as Millie's Kiss has distinct white markings on her forehead and hind leg.
"Mr McBride had plenty of opportunity to notice this and the only conclusion is he never bothered to look closely. He has a small 25- horse stable and therefore must be familiar with the horses in his yard. The level of carelessness is of a high degree."
The BHA did not push for a more severe sanction as it accepted McBride's was a genuine mistake. An integrity officer noted there were no suspicious betting patterns surrounding either of the two races in which McBride's fillies were due to run.
McBride felt the fine was a fair punishment. "I got a fair hearing, no complaints, that was the right outcome in my opinion," he said. "I thought it was fair, I expected it to be something like that because of all the outcry in the press, but it was an honest mistake and could have happened to anyone. Hopefully it won’t happen again."
During the hearing McBride explained the time pressure he was under due to jockey John Egan eventually weighing out more than 20 minutes after he had wanted to collect the saddle.
McBride said: "I went to get the saddle at 1pm but John Egan wasn’t able to weigh out as he was in the sauna, despite his agent telling me four days earlier he could do the weight. I got the saddle eventually at 1.22 or 1.23pm, and even then he weighed out 1lb overweight, which didn’t please me.
"[The groom] had already brought the horse through and put the bridle on and when I put the saddle down in the corner I realised we had elasticated girths, which I hate but they help the jockey make the weight. That put me in a further bad mood. I was in a rush and threw the saddle on and the young girl led him out. In 50 years I’ve never had anyone bring the wrong horse to me.
"When John came out he didn’t have his sponsorship on, he’d forgotten it so we had to send him back to get it and then I threw him on the horse as the others had gone to post. When I saw the pictures afterwards it was obvious to me it was Millie’s Kiss as she carries her head high and her tail up and is a bit scratchy, but the big screen wasn’t working so I didn’t spot it at the time."
Due to the public interest surrounding the case the panel provided a summary of the reasons behind their decision. A full, written explanation will be available in due course.