Frank admissions” and assurances leave Jockey clear to ride next September
The British Horseracing Authority has announced that Keiren Fallon and two other jockeys will not face charges over betting by members of the Bennett family on horses ridden by them in 2003-4. Action to ban the Bennetts will however be taken.
Fallon is currently subject to a worldwide riding ban imposed by France Galop after he tested positive for cocaine for a second time. The British regulator’s statement means the way is clear for former Champion Jockey Fallon to return to British racing when the French ban expires next September.
Announcing its conclusions after a long investigation into the Bennetts’ laying to lose of horses ridden by Fallon, Dean McKeown and Dean Mernagh the British regulator said it had found considerable cause for concern about the three jockeys’ behaviour, but decided in the light of particular circumstances relating to each that the interests of racing would not be best served by the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against them.
In Fallon’s case the Authority gave “considerable weight” to “frank admissions” made by him about his past behaviour and “his willingness to accept a rigorous regime to ensure he is, and remains, both drug-free and compliant with the rules of racing regarding the use of inside information”. Fallon has agreed to attend appropriate training in relation to inside information. The Authority had also borne in mind that the investigation did not reveal evidence of Fallon stopping horses.
Charges against Dean McKeown were considered inappropriate in the light of the 4 year riding ban imposed on him in October, when a Disciplinary Panel found he had passed inside information to a group of gamblers, and been guilty of failing to try on 4 occasions. McKeown is appealing those decisions.
Dean Mernagh, who received a 1 year suspension in 2006 after admitting selling inside information to a gambler on 10 occasions, is no longer riding in Britain.
It was said that these two will have to address the concerns arising from the Bennett investigation if and when they wish to return to British horseracing.
The Authority’s investigation into the Bennetts’ lay betting began in 2004. It was put on hold at the request of the police and CPS authorities pending their investigation into other matters which led to the criminal charges of which Fallon was acquitted earlier this year. The investigation then re-started. The present announcement was held over until after a hearing at which the Authority’s Disciplinary Panel considered the charges against McKeown that led to his 4 year ban.