Racing: Egan in custody after pleading guilty to shotgun charge

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The Independent Online

John Egan's reputation in the saddle has never been higher, but problems off-course threaten his career.

Egan has been remanded in custody after appearing before magistrates to face three charges. The jockey pleaded guilty to possession of an unlicensed shotgun, harassment, and being drunk in possession of a vehicle. A Suffolk Police spokesman confirmed that Egan was arrested last Friday and appeared in court at Bury St Edmunds the following day. No date has yet been fixed for sentencing.

An outstanding year, during which Egan rode 92 winners, has now come to a shocking end. He has not ridden since taking a horrifying fall at Wolverhampton on 25 November, when he stopped breathing for a minute and needed stitches to a facial wound.

Egan has experienced many career turns. This year he has forged a partnership with Tim Pitt, winning the Chester Cup on Admiral and two Group One prizes, the Golden Jubilee Stakes and July Cup, with Les Arcs.

But the Japanese Racing Association did not permit him to ride Les Arcs at Nakayama on 1 October, because of his troubled departure from Hong Kong four years ago. Egan insists that he has not been suspended by the Hong Kong authorities, but it is possible he may still be subject of an arrest warrant after his failure to return there under bail conditions imposed by corruption investigators in 2002. He had been one of 19 people arrested in Hong Kong in connection with a race-fixing investigation, but has always protested his innocence.