News 23rd April 2015

BHA dismisses horse owner’s appeal against three-year ban

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has dismissed an appeal by racehorse owner Anthony Knott against a three-year ban for improper use of inside information. ‘On 22 April 2015, the Appeal Board of the British Horseracing Authority heard and appeal by Anthony Knott against the decision of the Disciplinary Panel dated 25 November 2014 and determined that Knott had committed a breach of Rule (A)37, and against the penalty of a three-year disqualification imposed upon him by the same Disciplinary Panel on 18 December 2014’, read a BHA statement.

In November last year, the BHA found that Knott had breached Rule A(37), by assisting, encouraging or causing one or more others to act in contravention of Rule A(41.1), by passing inside information about the likely performance of Theroadtogorey, an Irish racehorse. The panel found that Knott had bought Theroadtogorey in an attempt to revive its fortunes and when that attempt failed, he pursued a campaign allowing a second individual, Andrew Callow, to win money through lay betting – i.e. backing a horse to lose.

The panel found Callow also guilty of breaching Rule A(41.1) by committing a corrupt or fraudulent practice – i.e. using inside information about Theroadtogorey for lay betting purposes. ‘The manner in which Mr Callow aggressively layed Theroadtogorey in these races certainly raised a suspicion of undue confidence in the likelihood of it performing poorly’, read the BHA’s November findings. ‘Mr Callow’s betting behaviour was at odds with his normal betting activity.’

The panel found that on 27 June 2012 at Worcester, Callow used his Betfair account and an account registered to Andrew Trigg, which he had control over. ‘Mr. Callow risked £7,659 to win £380’, found the panel. ‘His betting activity equated to 54% of the Betfair market on Theroadtogorey’.

At a second race at Worcester on 11 July, Callow recruited the Betfair accounts of two more friends, David Bowyer and Ben Male, meaning that he had control over four Betfair accounts. ‘His liability for the race was £14,606 and he won £473’ found the panel. ‘His betting accounted for 78% of the Betfair market’. Theroadtogorey showed an increase in form after this race, just missing out on fourth. However it bled after the race, and the panel found that ‘Mr. Callow was in possession of Inside Information regarding the bleed, the lack of training and the true prospects of Theroadtogorey’s chances in the race’, read the panel’s findings. ‘The Panel concluded that the Inside Information was given to Mr Callow by Mr Knott and this allowed Mr Callow to lay the gelding with such confidence’.

At a third race at Uttoxeter on 18 July 2012, Theroadtogorey was expected to continue his upturn in form. However, Callow knew about the bleed and ‘risked £12,821 in the place market and exposed himself to a total liability of £13,788 – this was 73% of the Betfair market’, read the panel’s findings. ‘His winnings on this occasion were greatly increased. Most of the bets were matched at prices between 2 and 4. He won £6,155.’

Callow was not licensed by the BHA, but accepted the findings. The panel found that Knott, a dairy farmer, and Callow had been friends for 35 years and Callow purchased cattle for Knott as an unpaid agent. Each of the races concerned were run on a Wednesday, the same day as the cattle market at Frome, which was always attended by Callow to purchase cattle for Knott, when instructed.

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