Full case report
Jockey Club v Keightley & others
Court Disciplinary Panel of the Jockey Club
Judge T M Bell, Mrs J Gilles, M S Lohn
Date of Judgment 23 Dec 2005
Disciplinary proceedings – betting ring – heavy betting that horse would lose – phone records showing links between gamblers and trainer – innocent explanation of calls put forward – breaches of Rules of Racing – penalty
On 20 October 2003 RED LANCER was reasonably well fancied to win a race at Wolverhampton, but the online gambling company Betfair found one of its accounts, in the name of a gambler NY, heavily laying the horse to lose. The horse dwelt in the stalls and came in 9th, and the NY account won. Investigations found that the NY bets had been placed by DC, the son of CC. CC was a gambler excluded from racing in January 2003 after admitting on oath to buying inside information from jockeys. CC, DC and NY had earlier been found guilty by another Disciplinary Panel of involvement in the corrupt laying of 8 horses ridden by jockey Gary Carter, over the 2 months before the RED LANCER race. Phone records showed RED LANCER’s trainer, SK, had been in frequent phone contact with CC before, on the day, and after the Wolverhampton race. SK admitted this, and knowing that CC was excluded. He claimed their contacts were innocent.
(1) Was SK involved in corrupt arrangements with CC, DC and NY in relation to RED LANCER; had he instructed the jockey, PM, to lose the race; were his statements to investigators false; and had he knowingly associated with an excluded person, CC, in connection with racing? (2) had PM deliberately ‘pulled’ the horse on SK’s instructions? had he done so corruptly, aiding and abetting corruption by the others? (3) Should CC, DC and NY be sanctioned?
(1) SK was guilty of each of the breaches alleged against him, save that he was not found to have received money or other material reward for his part. He was disqualified for 3 years, barred from seeking a trainer’s licence for a further 2 years, and fined £3,500 for trying to mislead investigators. (2) PM had deliberately restrained RED LANCER in the stalls, but was not found to have been party to the corrupt arrangements. (3) CC, DC and NY were already excluded from racing indefinitely as a result of the findings in the Carter case. The Panel asked that its findings against them be noted if any of them applied to life the exclusion order.
As in the Carter case, decided by a different Panel in October 2005, phone records obtained through Norwich Pharmacal orders proved vital to the Panel’s conclusions. The Panel also admitted in evidence the findings of the Carter Panel against CC, DC and NY, as evidence of propensity on their part, but held that it would have reached the same conclusions without that evidence. The critical factor appears to have been the lack of credibility in the trainer’s explanations for his phone contacts with CC.
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