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Jockey Club to set up investigation committee

The Jockey Club’s plan to introduce a range of measures to protect racing’s integrity and to deter villains has come under strong criticism from representatives of jockeys and trainers.

The most controversial proposal is the new rule that would give the Jockey Club access to personal details from telephone and betting accounts. Anyone refusing to provide the required information could face a fine or even be warned off, although they would be given the chance first to explain to the Disciplinary Committee why they were reluctant to divulge such sensitive details.

The new scheme was described by the Jockeys’ Association as a “bully boys¨ charter” and by the National Trainers’ Federation as a “possible breach of human rights”.

A Security and Investigations Committee, chaired by Jockey Club steward Gurney Sheppard, has been set up to monitor the work of the security department which will implement the measures.

The main objectives of the new rulings would be to deter licensedpersons, such as trainers, jockeys and valets, from passing on information for reward about horses which is not publicly available.

Another aim would be to place strict limits on associations between jockeys and betting organisations at the racecourse. Also it would be an offence for any person to obstruct Jockey Club investigations.

Such Draconian measures follow in the wake of the recent doping trial, which collapsed through lack of evidence. Christopher Spence, Senior Steward of the Jockey Club, said: “I would like to make it clear that we do not believe that malpractice and corruption within racing is widespread. However, the Jockey Club has made no secret of its concern about racing’s vulnerability in this area and of the need to ensure that the sport is better protected in the future.”The new rules take effect from 1 January 2001.

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