Racing: Jockeys 'groomed' by bookmaker are banned

Two jockeys, Brian Reilly and Dean Williams, were yesterday suspended for 18 months following a long-running inquiry into alleged corruption. Owen Churchill, a former owner and off-course bookmaker, was warned off for eight years after being found guilty of four charges.

The Horseracing Regulatory Authority said Churchill pursued a corrupt practice in laying 10 horses to lose, caused others to pass inside information for reward, and misled the authority's officials.

All 10 horses ran at Southwell, Lingfield or Wolverhampton. The authority was alerted by suspicious betting patterns. The first horse inquired into ran two years ago at Southwell where it finished third at 9-2 ­ its name was Knead The Dough.

The HRA's verdict said that because of arrangements Churchill had put in place, he knew that on each occasion the horses ran, they would not win and/or be placed. "Punters when they back a horse or match bets offered on an [betting] exchange should be entitled to expect the horse to run on its merits. Mr Churchill's actions undermine the reputation and integrity of racing," the verdict said.

The HRA said that Churchill, through "a carefully orchestrated plan" ensured that he would win £56,339. The liabilities he risked during these races totalled £262,329.

The plan was centred around Reilly and Williams ­ both apprentices at the time ­ after Churchill befriended them. "His behaviour in corrupting young apprentice jockeys at a vulnerable stage of their career is deplorable," the verdict said. The HRA has now declared him an " excluded person" and says he cannot apply for a lifting of the ban for eight years.

An "excluded person" is banned from all tracks, racing stables and other places licensed by the HRA. He has been running Churchill Bookmakers in East Anglia, and has an ex-directory telephone number in Lowestoft. He failed to cooperate with the inquiry.

Of Williams and Reilly, yesterday's verdict noted: "Both were young apprentice jockeys who were at the outset of their careers. Both had undergone personal problems which had consequences for their professional development. The panel accepted Williams's account that Churchill had befriended him and that he had been naïve in accepting this friendship. Churchill had provided Williams with rides on his horses despite being advised by trainers and more experienced jockeys not to do so.

"The panel concluded that Mr Churchill groomed Williams with a view to obtaining favours from him. The panel understood that Williams introduced Reilly to Mr Churchill."

Williams was found guilty on three counts ­ that he communicated information for reward, aided and abetted a breach of the rules, and misled an investigating official.

He was also found guilty of riding Ever Cheerful at Lingfield on 30 December 2004 with the intention of not obtaining the best possible placing, in the knowledge that the horse was being laid to lose on the Betfair betting exchange.

The inquiry looked into six races in which Reilly had ridden. He was found guilty of riding Three Ships at Wolverhampton on 21 January 2005 with the intention of not obtaining the best possible placing, in the knowledge that the horse was being laid to lose.

After Reilly rode Amanda's Lad, a favourite at Southwell in January last year, the Racing Post noted that, instead of holding its usual prominent position in a race, the horse "was restrained some way off the pace this time and never got close to the action".

10 horses at centre of inquiry

Owen Churchill was found guilty of refusing to provide information to the HRA about its investigation into the laying of bets on the following horses:

* KNEAD THE DOUGH at Southwell on 21 December 2004

* EVER CHEERFUL at Lingfield on 30 December 2004

* SOVIET SCEPTRE at Lingfield on 15 January 2005

* SHIFTY NIGHT at Southwell on 18 Jan 2005

* THREE SHIPS at Wolv-erhampton on 21 January 2005

* AMANDA'S LAD at Southwell in the 25 January 2005

* MARON at Wolverhampton in the on 7 February 2005

* PIROUETTES at Wolverhampton on 7 February 2005

* FIZZY LADY at Wolverhampton on 11 February 2005

* CILS at Wolverhampton on 11 February 2005.

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
film
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Goalkeeping howler allows Man City to scrap a draw – but Premier League title is Liverpool's to lose
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Consultant – Building Management

up to £45,000 + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Green ...

Senior Industrial Energy Consultant

Up to £45,000 + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Green ...

Mechanical Building Services Energy Engineer

up to £45K basic + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Gr...

Building Services Energy Engineer

up to £45K basic + benefits: The Green Recruitment Company: Our Client The Gr...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal