Racing combats corruption

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  • Jockeys, trainers, owners and stable staff are shortly to receive special training designed to prevent corruption in racing.

    The planned education programme is one of several recommendations unveiled last Wednesday (4 July) by a working group following an industry-wide consultation, led by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA), on the use of so-called “inside information” in racing.

    The group also proposed banning jockeys’ agents from laying (backing to lose) horses ridden by a jockey they represent, and a code of conduct for journalists.

    Crucially, the working group issued the first definition of what constitutes inside information.

    HRA director of security Paul Scotney said: “Now we have a clear definition, the challenge for the sport is to ensure that everyone within the industry is clear about their responsibilities in preventing and deterring people from using inside information for corrupt purposes.”

    Working group member Rupert Arnold of the National Trainers’ Federation agreed.

    He said: “Trainers’ yards are often a source of inside information, so all those with access to it must be clear about their responsibilities concerning its use.”

    One grey area has been the legitimate media work carried out by jockeys, trainers and owners. Several well-known jockeys have newspaper columns, while some trainers run tipping lines. Some commentators had expressed concerns that individuals could accidentally disclose inside information through their media work.

    The education programme, which Mr Scotney said would begin “within a month”, will comprise of presentations, seminars and roadshows. A mentoring scheme for those entering the industry is also being considered.

    The 11-strong working group was established at the beginning of the year after several high-profile cases in which jockeys, and in one case, a trainer, were found guilty of passing on information about their horses for reward.

    Six-times champion jockey Kieren Fallon faces trial in September on charges of conspiracy to defraud. As H&H went to press on Monday, senior jockey Tony Culhane was banned for 12 months after being found guilty by the HRA disciplinary panel of misusing inside information.

    This news report was first published in Horse & Hound (12 July, ’07)

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