Fergal Lynch is allowed to ride in Britain

Last Updated: 06/08/14 3:23pm

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Fergal Lynch is free to ride in Britain

Fergal Lynch is free to ride in Britain

Sky Bet

Fergal Lynch is allowed to ride in Britain for an initial one-year period, confirmed the British Horseracing Authority.

Lynch, 36, admitted to stopping a horse, Bond City, from winning at Ripon in August 2004, supplying inside information about six of his rides, and associating with the disqualified Miles Rodgers.

The former champion apprentice was fined £50,000 in July 2009 and agreed not to ride in Britain for at least a year as part of a plea bargain agreement with the BHA.

He has been granted permission to ride in Britain under BHA rules as an overseas jockey, initially for a probationary period.

The decision to lift the restriction was made by the BHA and followed the receipt of an application from Lynch, together with extensive written submissions, and subsequent interviews with the jockey and his representatives.

The lifting of this restriction will be subject to on-going review.

His bid to regain a jockey's licence in Britain had been refused by a licensing committee of the BHA in March 2011.

The committee rejected his application as it felt he was not a suitable, or "fit and proper", person.

He has, however, been free to ride in Ireland, after he was granted a licence by the Irish Turf Club in April 2012.

Lynch, who was cleared of race-fixing charges in December 2007 following the infamous collapse of the Old Bailey trial, subsequently started a new career as a jockey in the United States.

He moved to America in 2008, and was a leading rider at Philadelphia Park until July 2009, when the racecourse's licensing authority decided it would not approve him as a jockey unless he obtained a British licence.

Lynch was then granted a licence to ride in Spain, where he claimed a first European winner in May 2011, after which he began riding in Ireland later that month on his Spanish licence.

Between September and November 2011, Lynch also rode in France and Germany.

Lynch's solicitor, Harry Stewart-Moore, said his client was "a changed man" and that he was determined to "rebuild his reputation" in British racing.

Stewart-Moore said in a statement issued to Press Association Sport: "Fergal is absolutely delighted at the BHA's decision to lift the ban on him riding in Great Britain on a conditional basis.

"It has been a long process but Fergal would like to thank the BHA for the thorough and fair manner in which it has been conducted.

"It has been nearly six years since Fergal has ridden in this jurisdiction.

"But for those who have followed him over that period, it will be clear that he is a changed man having ridden in Ireland and in other jurisdictions all over the world with a great deal of success and, more importantly, without incident or any questions being raised regarding his conduct or integrity.

"He is extremely keen to rebuild his reputation in Great Britain and to try and repay part of his huge debt to British racing by adding to it as a committed and honest sportsman and by working with young jockeys to help ensure that they do not make the same mistakes that he did."

Lynch must participate in a BHA integrity education video, after which his proposed comeback has been earmarked at Ayr next Monday.

The jockey has also been ordered to participate in the on-going delivery of the BHA education programmes and educational material.

As Lynch would be riding as an overseas jockey, he would be required to submit an application for a jockey's licence with the BHA if he wanted to compete predominantly in Great Britain.

Adam Brickell, director of integrity, legal and risk for the BHA, said: "The decision to allow Fergal Lynch to return to riding in Great Britain was one which was not straightforward and one we gave a lot of consideration to.

"We were aware that we had to balance the reputation of the sport against assessment of the individual merits of his application.

"In this case we have reached the conclusion that it would be fair and reasonable to permit Lynch to ride in Britain, based on the merits of his case.

"Lynch has shown through his application and subsequent interviews that he has satisfactorily addressed the concerns raised by the Licensing Committee when it refused to grant him a British licence in 2011.

"He has demonstrated that he understands the gravity of his offences and the impact they had on British racing.

"He accepts the severity of the fine and sanctions that were imposed upon him and the consequences that they had on his career, and he has shown that he possesses the qualities to abide by the rules of other jurisdictions during his time riding in Ireland and overseas.

"We have been encouraged by the open manner of his engagement with the BHA during the course of the application.

"We also noted Lynch's enthusiasm for helping others learn from his mistakes, which we will utilise as we look to further modernise our approach to integrity education, especially for younger riders. He has also acknowledged publicly his past mistakes, the level of his culpability, and expressed his contrition.

"It is now 10 years since Fergal Lynch committed those offences and he has paid a price for his mistakes. While the passage of time in its own right does not impact on such a decision, the manner in which Lynch has conducted himself in that period is important.

"Lynch has satisfied us during the course of his application that he has successfully reformed his character and that subject to the agreed conditions, he should be allowed the opportunity to race ride in Britain once again.

"BHA has shown in recent years that those who seek to undermine the integrity of the sport will be dealt with severely through the disciplinary process. This case is a matter of assessing Lynch's personal qualities, and recognising but not seeking to further punish previous behaviour.

"That assessment has led us to the conclusion that it is now fair and reasonable to permit Lynch to ride in Britain."

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