Racehorse trainer Howard Johnson appeared before a British Horseracing Authority inquiry today (Wednesday 20 July) in London facing welfare charges.

Mr Johnson faces a fine and lengthy ban after one of his horses, Striking Article, was found to have been run eight times after having its leg “de-nerved”.

During a claiming chase at Musselburgh on 7 February 2010 Striking Article, owned by Graham and Andrea Wylie, was pulled up with an injured tendon and subsequently put down.

A post mortem found the horse had undergone a palmar neurectomy. This procedure severs the nervous connection in the lower leg and is banned in the sport on welfare grounds as it affects the horse’s ability to feel pain.

It transpires Striking Article had undergone the banned procedure in April 2008 and run eight times since.

Mr Johnson said he was unaware it was against the Rules. He faces fines of up to £3,000 and if he is found guilty of “wilful neglect” could be banned for up to 10 years.

In a separate investigation he has also been charged with administering anabolic steroids to three of his horses — Whisky Magic, Mintaka Pass and Montoya’s Son.

The hearing is expected to last two days.