Brooks accuses Buffham of witch-hunt

Charlie Brooks yesterday accused Roger Buffham of leading a "witch-hunt" in his probes into race-fixing. The former trainer, who was himself arrested in January last year as part of the Scotland Yard investigation into specific incidents of race-fixing and horse-doping before being cleared of all charges three months later, referred to a specific meeting between himself and Buffham, the Jockey Club head of Security.

Charlie Brooks yesterday accused Roger Buffham of leading a "witch-hunt" in his probes into race-fixing. The former trainer, who was himself arrested in January last year as part of the Scotland Yard investigation into specific incidents of race-fixing and horse-doping before being cleared of all charges three months later, referred to a specific meeting between himself and Buffham, the Jockey Club head of Security.

Buffham's position at Portman Square has come under intense scrutiny in the past 48 hours since the collapse of the trial at Southwark Crown Court of five men accused of conspiracy to defraud when two horses were doped in 1997.

Michael Caulfield, the executive manager of the Jockeys Association, has called for Buffham's resignation and it is now believed that the jockeys involved in the case are considering legal action against the Jockey Club.

Brooks said: "It was no surprise the whole thing collapsed - the whole thing was based on false stories by dubious individuals. They had their own agenda, they led the police up a garden path. What then happened was that a lot of people had their lives ruined and the police ended up looking very stupid.

"Roger Buffham has got to take a lot of the responsibility - he's completely lost all credibility. You can't entirely blame him for this as the Crown Prosecution Service and the police were in charge.

"But I can remember two years ago going to his office at Jockey Club headquarters in Portman Square and he shut the door behind me and he said: 'Brooks, we're not after you, we just want to get Bradley'. Now, to me, that really smacked of a witch-hunt. I never felt the man had any credibility after that. The Jockey Club have got to be seen to be doing something about this.

"Only in January of this year, Roger Buffham had them saying publicly that trainers had betting accounts where they never lost. That is ludicrous, that went out the window about 50 years ago. They can't just say 'we're doing a great job, we're changing nothing'. They've got to put their house in order."

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