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Not fair: Charles Byrnes unhappy at treatment by BHA over British runners

Charles Byrnes: three separate pre-race inquiries this year
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Charles Byrnes believes Irish trainers are being unfairly treated by the BHA after he was called into a pre-race inquiry to outline riding instructions and expectations to stewards before landing a gamble in the concluding 2m1f handicap at Carlisle on Tuesday with Mr Smith.

It was the third time he has been called before raceday stewards in Britain this year to outline riding instructions at the request of the BHA's integrity department. 

According to details published on the BHA's website there have been six such requests made by the integrity department in 2019. The other three involved fellow Irish-based trainer Denis Hogan.

Mr Smith, who was part of a famous Byrnes treble at Roscommon in August 2016, was backed from as big as 8-1 into a starting price of 3-1 and duly obliged in the hands of leading apprentice Sean Davis. It was the grey son of Galileo's first start for 791 days.

Byrnes said: "It was an interrogation. I believe it was a similar story with other Irish trainers like Denis Hogan when he has come over with runners.

"I don't have any problem whatsoever with them doing it and asking questions so long as they do it with every trainer.

"It happened to me at Hamilton last week and at Kelso too. If they are going to persist with this approach then it needs to be fair and all trainers should be interviewed, not just Irish ones."

Byrnes believes the BHA are trying to force his hand into giving his jockeys in-depth instructions of how each of his horses should be ridden, something he has never done during a training career which has spanned three decades.

"I normally don't tie my jockeys down to instructions and they are trying to force my hand, I tried to tell them that at Hamilton but they wouldn't listen," Byrnes said.

"Anything can happen in a race and I like to leave it up to my jockeys to ride the race as they see it. You could see a lot of horses coming from behind on a card or the pace holding up in races so how are you supposed to know what to do?

"It makes little sense to me. I don't understand it at all. I've never been one to tie my jockeys down to certain instructions."

Denis Hogan was also the subject of three pre-race inquiries about his runners at British tracks, at Wetherby and twice at Redcar in May.

Denis Hogan: "It's highly unusual to have such interviews held before a race."

He said last month: "I find it all very strange. The interviews mainly concerned what instructions were given to the riders. It's very puzzling and highly unusual to have such interviews held before a race – it's not something that ever happens in Ireland.

"I contacted the BHA and was told they have the power to carry out such interviews before a race. I still find it all baffling, though."

A BHA spokesperson said on Thursday: “The BHA does not comment on any inquiries or investigations which might be related, directly or indirectly, to potential integrity matters. 

"Neither will the BHA elaborate on the reason why pre-race inquiries are held for reasons of confidentiality. More generally, the BHA may occasionally wish to speak to individuals at racecourses as part of its regulation and monitoring of British racing.  All such instances are logged on the BHA’s website in the interests of transparency. ” 

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This approach needs to be fair and all trainers should be interviewed
E.W. Terms