Racing: Fallon must face disciplinary inquiry

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The Independent Online

Investigators at the Jockey Club have finished thumbing through the News of the World and have decided that Kieren Fallon must answer charges of bringing racing into disrepute in relation to allegations made in that newspaper last month.

The solicitor representing Fallon and fellow jockey John Egan has been told that they will be required to attend a disciplinary committee inquiry. That will seek to establish whether the pair acted in a "manner prejudicial to the integrity and good reputation of horseracing" in respect of conversations with undercover reporters.

Also under scrutiny will be whether Fallon broke the rules by communicating information which was not publicly available about horses for reward.

The News of the World alleged that Fallon told undercover journalists before a race at Lingfield that eventual winner Rye would beat his mount, Ballinger Ridge. The horse was beaten a short-head by Rye after Fallon eased down when clear. Fallon was suspended for 21 days for failing to ride out Ballinger Ridge but that punishment runs out today and he is due to return to the saddle at Kempton on Saturday.

The Jockey Club's security department investigation into irregular betting patterns on the Lingfield race is on-going and is separate to the hearing into the News of the World allegations.

Fallon has insisted he is innocent of allegations and yesterday said: "My conscience is clear. It will be a relief to get the opportunity to clear my name."

His solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said: "The Jockey Club seek to establish if any information was given for material gain. Kieren Fallon told the reporters on many occasions that he could not accept any material reward and he did not."

Punishments for acting in a manner prejudicial to racing's integrity or for passing on information range from fines of between £1,000 and £10,000 to suspension or warning off.

In the champion's absence Frankie Dettori had a field day yesterday with a five-timer at Folkestone. Although nothing like as damaging as the jockey's "magnificent seven" at Ascot in 1996, the bookies could still be left facing a payout of £1m following the 947-1 accumulator.

After wins on Observer (4-7), Petite Rose (11-4), Wistman (10-1), Doctored (11-2) and Belle Rouge (5-4), Dettori said: "You need to ride five winners now to get headlines. [Tony] McCoy has messed things up - he gets that many every other day."

Racecourse Holdings Trust, which has Cheltenham, Sandown and Epsom among its 13 tracks, has agreed an 18-month deal with Channel 4 that will secure their coverage of racing. Channel 4 had threatened to drop racing from its schedules if RHT had negotiated a deal which would have meant coverage of the Cheltenham Festival switching to ITV.

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