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Former H&H deputy news editor

Joint Measurement Board accused of being “unfit for purpose”

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The father of a jockey whose racing pony proved almost 5cm taller than its height certificate has accused the Joint Measurement Board (JMB) of being “unfit for purpose“.

In January, John Whyte paid £4,000 for nine-year-old Little Pea, who helped take Ned Curtis to the 2011 Charles Owen 148cm championship title.

However, at Marks Tey on 25 March there was a complaint. When remeasured, the mare recorded 152.7cm – too tall for pony racing.

Now Mr Whyte, of Beccles, Suffolk, intends to sue the JMB for professional misconduct.

“There needs to be more regulation of the full height certificate, we need to be able to trust it,” he told H&H.

Little Pea was twice measured at 148cm – for an annual measurement in 2010 and a full certificate in 2011.

But Mr Whyte says he can prove the thoroughbred was not that height.

“We recently took a sarcoid off her so she was heavily sedated, and even then the lowest she measured was 151cm, yet two vets claim to have measured her at 148cm.”

Howard Robinson of the JMB sympathised with Mr Whyte, but said full measurement certificates can be challenged.

“We are always concerned about inaccuracy – whether that is due to the animal growing, insufficient preparation by the owner or skulduggery,” he added.

Mr Whyte has asked the Pony Racing Authority (PRA) to follow the French model and allow ponies of up to 152cm to race. No one at the PRA was available to comment.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (28 June 2012)