Fownes fine reduced to $40,000 on appeal
TRAINER Lawrie Fownes had his $75,000 fine for using medication on a horse without veterinary permission cut to $40,000 on appeal and left the Sports Road headquarters of the Jockey Club relieved.
''Half a loaf is better than none for me,'' said the 14-year veteran of the local scene who fell foul of officialdom for administering sachets of bute to the maiden Suraj last month.
Fownes had used the medication on the wayward galloper who was not permitted to start in races and admitted the offence when questioned.
The respected trainer said it was a basic oversight in that he had failed to telephone the vet or get his permission before giving Suraj the treatment.
''I held up my hands and pleaded guilty but I was absolutely shocked by the fine. There was obviously no malintent as the panel duly noted but it was a very harsh fine,'' said Fownes.
The former champion trainer of Calcutta pleaded his case for leniency to a three-man panel yesterday and succeeded in having the fine substantially reduced.
He said: ''I was honestly hoping for more of a reduction but I suppose to be reduced by nearly half is some kind of victory.
''It's the only blemish on my training record over the 32 years that I have held a licence. I have not really been with it for the last three weeks with this hanging over me. It certainly hasn't left me in a good mood,'' said Fownes, who still has a chance to win the trainers' championship. Within hours of his successful appeal, Fownes had saddled up the first winner of the evening when Gold Venture (9-5 favourite) obliged at Happy Valley.