03/26/2010 12:00AM

British owner assaults jockey


British racehorse owner David Reynolds has been charged with two counts of assault by the British Horseracing Board following an incident at Lingfield Park last Saturday in which Reynolds took exception to the way Kieren Fallon rode Elna Bright, who had inadvertently hampered Reynolds's horse, The Scorching Wind.

Fallon was aboard Elna Bright in a $75,000 handicap on Polytrack when she was bumped and lost her action after two furlongs of the seven-furlong race. Realizing that his mount had been injured, Fallon began easing up on the 5-year-old Elna Bright, who soon crossed the path of Reynolds's 3-1 favorite, The Scorching Wind, who in turn lost all chance and eventually finished ninth of 10 ahead of only Elna Bright, who was distanced by the field. The race was won by Bravo Echo with another Reynolds-owned horse, Seek the Fair Land, finishing third. Lingfield vets later confirmed that Elna Bright had been injured.

In the unsaddling area after the race, Reynolds approached Fallon from behind and, according to witnesses, punched him in the face. Reynolds was also involved in an altercation with Elna Bright's trainer, Brett Johnson, and owner Peter Crate, who came away from the fracas sporting a strawberry under his eye.

The Lingfield stewards exonerated Fallon of any wrongdoing as Reynolds was escorted from the track by security guards. The matter was referred to the British Horseracing Authority for review. In the meantime, Fallon said he is contemplating a lawsuit against Reynolds. Fallon's solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, told the Racing Post, "This kind of thing must be discouraged. We don't understand why the matter was not reported to the police. The man has admitted striking Kieren and that is a criminal offense."

Reynolds has been charged by the British Horseracing Authority with violent conduct toward both Fallon and Crate. He admits to striking them both, but claims that he did not punch Fallon, that he merely slapped him.

Reynolds, who owns a construction company and whose horses won 12 races in Britain last year, has apologized to both Johnson and Crate, but not to Fallon.

"I was wrong and I'll accept whatever punishment the BHA gives me," Reynolds told the Racing Post. "I'm determined to apologize to the owner and trainer but not to Kieren. I feel he impeded our horse and there was an agenda there."

Reynolds will face a British Horseracing Authority hearing on Monday in London. If found guilty as charged, he could be ruled off for as long as a year.