Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) have found four of five people charged earlier this year with breaching the BHA’s Rules of Racing to be guilty. David Greenwood and Kenneth Mackay, former and current horse owners respectively, jockey Michael Stainton and Kevin Ackerman, the chief executive of Towcester racecourse, were all found guilty of a number of charges against them. The four all face potential lengthy bans from all racetracks, although the exact punishments are yet to be announced by the BHA.
Charges were brought against the four aforementioned persons as well as former licenced jockey Claire Murray in June earlier this year. Murray was found not guilty of any of the charges brought against her. The four that were convicted were all found to be in breach of Rule (A) 41.1, the commission of a corrupt or fraudulent practice in relation to racing.
David Greenwood, a former registered horse owner, was found guilty of seeking to ensure that the racehorse, Ad Vitam, ‘ran down the field’ in a number of races between November 2011 and March 2012. To ‘run down the field’ means to ensure that a horse does not place highly at the finish, but ends further down the field. This practice is alleged to have been carried out for handicapping reasons, which would reduce the horse’s Official Rating to a mark that was considered more competitive in future races.
Greenwood was further convicted of giving instructions to registered jockey Michael Stainton to ride in races in a way which would prevent Stainton and his horse from achieving the best possible placing. This was a breach of Rules (A) 41.2 (conspiracy to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice) and (B) 58.2 (no owner may give any instructions which if obeyed could or would prevent a horse from obtaining the best possible placing). Stainton was subsequently found guilty of failing to ride the horse on its merits (Rule (B) 58.1). Greenwood was also found to have failed to cooperate with BHA authorities in their ensuing investigations (Rule (A)50.2).
The registered owner Kenneth Mackay was convicted of breaching Rule (A) 41.1 because, after he became aware that Ad Vitam was likely to run down the field, he then laid bets against Ad Vitam in that race. Kevin Ackerman was similarly convicted for also laying bets on Ad Vitam in a number of races in which that horse ran, also knowing that it was likely to run down the field.
Former licensed jockey Claire Murray, who was also charged in June earlier this year for conspiring with David Greenwood to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice in relation to racing, was found not guilty of any breach.
All four convicted persons face the possibility of up to ten years disqualification according to BHA guidelines. However the penalty has not yet been determined for each individual and the BHA have stated that they ‘cannot comment further on these proceedings until they have concluded.’ A penalty hearing will follow at a date to be confirmed, after which those found in breach will have the opportunity to appeal the finding.
According to the BBC, all five originally charged with the rule breaches ‘strenuously denied the allegations.’
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