Hayley Turner has had her licence suspended for three months after she was found to have breached betting rules for jockeys.
After initially retiring in 2015, Turner rode in a number of invitational events before returning to the saddle permanently earlier this year to ride in France, requiring her to have a licence.
A number of bets had been placed by Turner during that period, placing her in breach of Rule 53D, though the British Horse Racing Authority’s disciplinary panel determined there were no integrity issues in relation to her betting.
Britain’s most successful female jockey will not appeal the ban and intends to return to race riding when her suspension ends in March, continuing with her media work in the meantime.
She told the Racing Post: “I’m a bit disappointed. Three months is a quarter of a year of not earning any money, and the BHA have said I’m not a threat to the sport.
“I’ve put my hands up from the word go. When I was actively riding, I’d never have a bet. I’ve respected the rules for 15 years I’ve been riding. But when I’m doing media and I’m retired, in my head I’m not a jockey and so it’s okay to have a bet.
“They were small bets, £5 here, a tenner there, nothing serious. I’ve never had a bet on my own horse or in a race in which I’m riding. It was just fun. I’m not a serious or addictive gambler.
“It was a stupid error and I’m paying for it. I’m 34 but still learning, unfortunately.
“I did break the rules but I’ve spent my whole adult life putting into the sport more than I should have done. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
BHA chief regulatory officer Jamie Stier said in a statement: “It’s a strict requirement under the rules of racing in Britain that licensed jockeys do not place bets on any races.
“It’s simply not appropriate for the public’s perception of the sport’s integrity that those who are licensed to ride in races should be able to bet on the sport, even on races in which they’re not participating. This is consistent with other major sports.
“Hayley Turner has made a full admission and apology regarding the rule breaches she has committed, and the BHA’s position was that it is appropriate this should be considered in mitigation when it came to determining penalty.
“The guideline entry point for an offence of this nature is an 18-month disqualification.”
‘Very Costly to Hayley’
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of The Professional Jockeys’ Association, said: “On the one hand the penalty is disappointing and disproportionate to the offences in question and is going to prove very costly to Hayley.
“However, she had a fair hearing, fully accepts responsibility for her unintended breaches of the rules, and accepts the punishment.
“The circumstances surrounding this case are unique and it’s hard to envisage a similar situation occurring again.
Despite this, Hayley has volunteered to appear in one of the next in the series of Jockey Matters films, which will focus on the rules of racing and betting to help ensure other jockeys, particularly young riders, understand the rules and don’t fall foul of them.”