Howard Johnson retires from training

    Prominent Northern trainer Howard Johnson is to retire from training after being banned for four years on Friday by the British Horseracing Authority.

    Johnson was found guilty of charges relating to horse welfare and the administering of steroids to horses that he was training.

    Striking Article, who ran in eight races after he had undergone a palmar neurectomy, was the horse that led to the enquiry.

    The procedure involves severing nervous connection to the lower leg to cause numbness. It is banned under the Rules of Racing on welfare grounds.

    The neurectomy to Striking Article’s left-foreleg came to light following a post-mortem carried out after the horse was pulled up and euthanised at Musselburgh on February 7, 2010.

    Striking Article underwent the procedure in April 2008 yet ran eight times afterwards.

    Graham Wylie, Johnson’s main employer has already transferred six of his horses to champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ stables.

    Johnson indicated when contacted that he has no plans to appeal the suspension and that he intends to retire from training. He plans to issue a full statement early next week.

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