Racing in crisis after Fallon arrested

The long arm of the law cast a formidable shadow over the world of horse-racing yesterday when it reached for the collar of Kieren Fallon, the champion jockey, rider of the Queen's horses and of the last two winners of the Derby. Instead of booting home Red Bloom for victory in the feature race at York, Fallon spent the day being grilled by police investigating alleged corruption and race- fixing. The probe hinges on information provided to police by the betting exchange Betfair.

The long arm of the law cast a formidable shadow over the world of horse-racing yesterday when it reached for the collar of Kieren Fallon, the champion jockey, rider of the Queen's horses and of the last two winners of the Derby. Instead of booting home Red Bloom for victory in the feature race at York, Fallon spent the day being grilled by police investigating alleged corruption and race- fixing. The probe hinges on information provided to police by the betting exchange Betfair.

In a sport of early-morning starts, the police were at the door of Fallon's bungalow outside Newmarket before he could make his usual dawn exit to the training gallops. After taking him away for questioning they also removed computers, files and documents from the home he shares with his wife, Julie, and their three children.

Fallon was later released on bail and will have to attend a police station in London in two months. Until then, though, it is business as usual for the five-times champion who will continue the defence of his title from the challenge of Frankie Dettori with six rides at today's Salisbury meeting.

Fallon's solicitor, Christopher Stewart-Moore, said in a statement last night: "Kieren Fallon has not been charged with any offence. Following an interview with the police in Bury St Edmunds he has been released without charge.

"The circumstances that relate to his arrest involve an individual who Kieren Fallon has met on one occasion and whose name he did not even know at the time the meeting happened. This was during the course of a 10-minute car journey from Leicester races to the airport at Leicester where he then flew on to an evening meeting at Windsor. During this car journey Kieren Fallon did not speak to the individual concerned. In the circumstances we do not anticipate that this matter will be taken any further by the police."

Two other jockeys, Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, and the trainer Karl Burke were among 15 others arrested. The riders also have booked mounts today, with Lynch due to race at Redcar and Williams at Carlisle. John Maxse, of the Jockey Club, said: "In the event that those concerned are released, then I would anticipate they would be able to continue with their racing and riding, pending further developments in the police investigation."

The decision not to suspend the riders marks a change of policy from the last time the police became involved in racing, when the jockey Graham Bradley had his licence to ride suspended for two months in 1999 after being arrested. Bradley was allowed to reapply for his licence after charges against him were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Fellow jockeys Dean Gallagher, Jamie Osborne and Leighton Aspell also had their licences suspended for a week, having been arrested, before being released without charge.

Maxse admitted: "Lessons were learnt by the Jockey Club after the previous police investigation. Our policy evolved from that enquiry and having passed the details of this case to the police earlier this year, we were aware that these sort of developments could occur."

The magnitude of the dawn swoops reflects the seriousness of the investigation into 80 suspicious races, with 130 officers from four police forces headed by the City of London Police, raiding 19 addresses across three counties.

At a time of increased track attendances and record-breaking levels of betting these are not the sort of figures on which the sport's rulers, the British Horseracing Board and Jockey Club, would wish to dwell.

Instead, the Jockey Club, so often the butt of accusations of incompetence in its efforts to police the sport, was quick yesterday to draw attention to the role in the investigation of its own security department that has been beefed up by the addition of some former senior policemen. "The City of London Police investigation was initiated following investigative work by the Jockey Club's security department, headed by Paul Scotney, a former detective chief superintendent," a Jockey Club statement said. "The decision to refer the matter to the police was taken following consultation with the chairman of the Jockey Club's security and investigations committee, Ben Gunn, a former chief constable."

Betfair, the leading betting exchange, were also anxious to claim credit for their part in the investigation, while defending themselves from their dogged enemies, the traditional bookmakers. "Betfair has played a key role in helping the police with their investigations into corruption in horse-racing," a statement said.

"Sophisticated technology now available enables all bets to be tracked, and all transactions linked to an end customer. Betfair has long maintained that the transparency of its exchange model, with the audit trail it provides, is a tremendously powerful weapon in keeping sport clean. The capability of tracking every mouse click is an important asset for investigations of this nature."

The Association of British Bookmakers responded: "The ability of betting exchange customers to act as unlicensed bookmakers without revealing their identities to punters is the equivalent of the sport sitting on a smouldering powder keg.

"For the betting exchanges to say that cases of alleged corruption would not be identified but for the excellence of their audit trails is akin to a householder leaving his doors and windows wide open and then claiming credit for reporting a burglary.

"The ability of individuals who may be in a position to influence the performance of a particular horse to then take bets on that horse - known as laying to lose - is a particularly invidious by-product of the betting-exchange situation. The reality is that the ability to lay horses to lose offers a far easier opportunity to the criminal than attempting to arrange for a certain horse to win."

The role of the exchanges and the power of racing's tom- toms to pick up a signal long before any official announcement is made was illustrated neatly yesterday in the betting on the jockeys' championship. Fallon, with a commanding lead, had been long odds-on to hold on to his title, but between the time the officers knocked on his door and the police announcement to news agencies that they had arrested the champion jockey his price drifted dramatically to odds-against and the price against Dettori shortened. Everyone, it seems, wants to be a bookmaker.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Accounts Assistant, Hammersmith

£25000 per annum: Charter Selection: Exciting sports company with a strong bra...

Financial Accountant-IFRS-Gloucester-£300/day

£250 - £295 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountant - IFRS - Glouc...

Technical Support Engineer - Central London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Central London...

SharePoint/C# Developer - Aberdeen - Circa £40K + benefits

£30000 - £40000 per annum + excellent benefits: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited:...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil