Allan's appeal against fine fails

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 August, 2003, 12:00am

Trainer indicates he may seek recovery of costs arising from 'Shampoogate' case

Trainer Ivan Allan may seek to recover his costs from the original 'Shampoogate' charges after failing yesterday to overturn a $100,000 fine for public comments made during the case.

In a three-hour appeal, the Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards dismissed Allan's appeal against the fine imposed by the racing stewards for actions prejudicial to the 'integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horse racing in the Hong Kong SAR' and 'behaviour or conduct which might discredit horse racing' after he had lashed out at Club officials last May.

The dismissed appeal might not have finalised the drawn-out episode, either, as there were indications that Allan may make one final bid over his defence of the charges arising from his stayer, Cheers Hong Kong, returning a positive test to banned diuretic Isosorbide the day he was due to run in the Hong Kong Gold Cup in February.

Allan could not be contacted for further comment, but, during yesterday's hearing, had raised the matter of the cost of his defence of the Cheers Hong Kong charges - which had been dropped when an anti-fungal shampoo issued by the Jockey Club was found to be the source of the positive test.

'The appeal panel advised that it will be entirely up to him, if he would like to pursue this,' said Jockey Club director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges last night. 'And if he did decide on that course, then obviously the totality of the events surrounding the case would be taken into account, including the apology he made in the course of this appeal hearing.'

In May, Allan had called for an adjournment of the Cheers Hong Kong inquiry after being charged with presenting for racing a horse which had returned a pre-race positive, and launched a broadside in the media.

In a subsequent hearing on June 5, the racing stewards described his media comments as 'unfounded and unjustified', declaring it was 'unacceptable for a licensed person of Mr Allan's standing to have made statements with a view to publication, in which he had called a member of the management a liar; he had inferred that the chairman and a racing steward of the original panel of the Sha Tin meeting of February 23, 2003, were biased against him and that the Club was manipulating the evidence so as to ensure that he would be charged and convicted.'

He was fined $100,000 for breaches of two separate sections of Rule 155 and that was the penalty upheld yesterday.

Engelbrecht-Bresges said: 'Ivan Allan made his point candidly, and said that he had made the comments in a stressful situation in which he had felt wronged. I think the panel was sympathetic, insofar as he was subsequently found to be innocent of any charges regarding Cheers Hong Kong. However, they also believed that his comments to the media during the hearing had been extremely serious in their nature and so dismissed his appeal.'

In a statement yesterday, it was noted the appeal panel took into account that this had been Allan's 'first offence under these rules and that he has been a good ambassador and strong supporter of Hong Kong racing'.

Meanwhile, the Jockey Club will make an announcement today on the jockey roster for the start of the new season on Sunday week, after losing Australian riders Brett Prebble and Danny Beasley from the starting lineup. Prebble withdrew from his contract after a Malaysian High Court decision upheld a three-month ban from 1998, which Prebble had strongly contested. Beasley announced last week that his wife is unable to travel at present and so withdrew from his licence for the first three months of the new term.

'At this stage, the solution we are looking at would involve just one new jockey - who has been recommended by management to the Licensing Committee and we hope to have him approved on Friday,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'In addition, we are hoping that Torsten Mundry would be able to commence his contract earlier than originally planned, but that will depend on his trainer in Germany, Peter Rau.' Mundry had been licensed to ride in Hong Kong from October 20 to April 25.