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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Not welcome: the game's up for gatecrasher Melia after indefinite exclusion

Richard Melia: the unwelcome gatecrasher has been up to his old tricks
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The serial interloper who has made a career out of gatecrashing major sporting events is no longer welcome in racing after being given an indefinite exclusion order.

Richard Melia earned more notoriety last year when he led Sizing John into the winner's enclosure after he landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

More recently he was ejected from Yarmouth in September after leading in another winner, adding to a list of walk-on roles in which he has also infiltrated the victory celebrations of Frankel, Camelot and Grand National winner Auroras Encore.

But it appears Melia has fooled racecourse security one too many times and the driver, from Colchester, who is already banned from Arc tracks, is now barred from all areas licensed by the BHA after his name was added to the disqualified persons list.

Richard Melia (left, blue shirt) celebrates Sizing John's Cheltenham Gold Cup victory
A BHA spokesperson said: "Mr Melia has been excluded indefinitely due to regular breaches of racecourse security restrictions over a sustained period. He acted in a way that was contrary to the reputation of British horseracing and which gave rise to significant security concerns.

"The disciplinary officer authorised the exclusion order on the basis that his presence on any licensed premises was undesirable and in order to protect racing from such conduct in the future."

Face in the crowd: Richard Melia joins the throng after Auroras Encore's Grand National triumph
Melia, a keen gambler and racing fan, was unmasked by the Racing Post last year after his Gold Cup appearance when he revealed his gatecrashing exploits began in the 1990s "for a laugh".

"I've done it at loads of places," said the serial interloper. "I've been on the grid at Silverstone, I was in the ring at the Dubai World Cup the year Animal Kingdom won. I've been in the ring after a Floyd Mayweather fight in Vegas and shook hands with him.

"It's just become a bit of a tradition really because I get so many people talking about it. The trouble is people expect me to do it now."

He added: "It's only for a laugh – it's nothing serious. I'm not trying to hurt anyone or cause any trouble and I always keep out the way once the owners and trainers are all together."

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He acted in a way that was contrary to the reputation of British horseracing and which gave rise to significant security concerns
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