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Trainer Karl Burke disqualified from racing for a year

Racehorse trainer Karl Burke has been disqualified for 12 months after a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) enquiry into alleged race-fixing.

Former racehorse owner Miles Rodgers, Middleham-trainer Karl Burke and jockeys Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams all faced disqualification at the trial, which follows a BHA review of the evidence obtained during an Old Bailey Crown Court case 18 months ago.

The charges relate to 12 races over a five-month period of 2004 when betting accounts allegedly held by Mr Rodgers, who was already banned from racing for laying horses, risked more than £800,000 in lay bets.

Allegations against Mr Burke were in regards to supplying inside information to Mr Rodgers, associating with a disqualified person and misleading BHA investigators when interviewed in August 2008.

Mr Burke originally denied everything, except that he spoke with Mr Rodgers in August 2004 about the sale of a horse named Khanjar.

But at the hearing on 2 July his position “changed dramatically”.

He admitted he had supplied inside information for reward to Mr Rodgers for all six races in question, which took place in May and June 2004, and thus admitted being in contact with a disqualified person — a “man whom Burke knew full well to have been warned off from April 204 for laying his own horses”.

He did not say what information he supplied, or why.

But the panel concluded his actions were “calculated and considered breaches of the rules” as after Rodgers was warned off it was found Mr Burke and he were in contact by phone on 203 occasions during the following 20 weeks.

He also bought a new mobile phone to speak to Mr Rodgers.

The panel added: “Burke was acting in a premeditated fashion (with the secret mobile phone) to enable a warned off individual to lay his runners.”

The ban comes into effect on 28 July, giving Burke a chance to appeal.

Last night (Monday 20 July) Mr Burke’s solictor’s confirmed he would be appealing the ban, saying it was “unfair and excessive”.

Mr Rodgers has been warned off for life.

Mr Rodgers was alleged to have obtained inside information and to have organised lay betting in 12 races and he was successful in 11. He risked a total £805, 772 and made a profit of £87,445

At the hearing on 2 July he admitted he conducted betting on information supplied by Lynch, Williams and Burke. He also admitted association with them while he was disqualified.

At the hearing Mr Rodgers said he was a “different person” now and that he was only a “social gambler” who would now “obey a new exclusion order”.

But the panel concluded: “This is an obvious case for an indefinite exclusion order: Rodgers has wreaked havoc with the sport.”

On 26 June Fergal Lynch received a £50,000 fine and Darren Williams was banned for three months for their involvement.

Last week (17 July) Fergal Lynch received a 12 month ban from US racecourse Philadelphia Park, where he is the leading jockey this year, on the back of his admissions at the BHA hearing last month.

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