Mick Quinn, the former professional footballer, has had his licence to train withdrawn for two and a half years after the Jockey Club found him guilty of neglecting three horses turned out to grass near his Wantage stables.

At an inquiry heard by the Disciplinary Committee, Quinn, 39, admitted to be in breach of Jockey Club Rule 51, which governs the level of care and condition of horses while stabled with a licensed trainer.

Thecase was brought to the attention of the Jockey Club after a member of the public had seen the racehorses Winsome George, Arab Gold and Zola in a poor state out in a field. The condition of the horses was reported to the RSPCA who in turn handed theinformation over to the Jockey Club.

Jockey Club spokesman John Maxse said: “Mick Quinn has been told by the Stewards that he should not re-apply for a trainer’s licence before January 1, 2004. But he is free to go racing, and is even permitted to own horses.”

Liverpool-born Quinn, who played for eight clubs including Newcastle United and Coventry during his successful football career, trained 33 winners in his first three seasons and has saddled four more this year. He is considering an appeal.