Racing: Owner banned for laying his horses to lose

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Miles Rodgers, the man behind the Platinum Racing syndicate, has been warned off racing for two years after being found guilty of laying two of his club's beaten horses to lose on the betting exchanges.

Miles Rodgers, the man behind the Platinum Racing syndicate, has been warned off racing for two years after being found guilty of laying two of his club's beaten horses to lose on the betting exchanges.

Rodgers, whose horses represent about 500 owners, laid Uhoomagoo and Million Percent towards the end of last year, thus breaking Jockey Club rules brought in on 1 September. Both horses drifted substantially on the exchanges before finishing down the field.

"It was a benchmark ruling and the penalty of two years is a benchmark figure in itself," John Maxse, of the Jockey Club, said yesterday. "It demonstrates that where there is evidence the disciplinary panel will issue severe penalties.

"The message is clear that any trainer, owner or member of stable staff found laying their own horses to lose will be disqualified from the sport."

As a disqualified person, Rodgers is barred from entering any premises licensed by the Jockey Club, including all 59 British racecourses and any licensed training yards. It is also an offence for people working within racing to associate with him.

With attheraces on the point of extinction there was the announcement yesterday that a new television channel dedicated to British horseracing could come swiftly into the breach. A number of leading independent courses, including Newbury and Doncaster, have developed a business plan for The Horseracing Channel, which could be ready for launch within weeks. The channel will be subscription-based and, as they say in low-cost airline language, it will be no frills.

"The business plan for The Horseracing Channel is practical, realistic and financially sound," Andrew Brown, project director, said yesterday. "If the racecourses want it, we are ready to go live soon after the end of March."

Mark Kershaw, the managing director of Newbury, added: "If attheraces does not manage to reach new agreements with the racecourses and the BHB, racing has to be ready for life after attheraces. Our priority is to ensure that racing fans are able to turn on their television sets and watch a wide selection of racing from courses across Britain. If this cannot be delivered through attheraces, racing needs a credible alternative-broadcast proposition and one that will allow the sport to keep control of its product and its future."

The Flat season began at Doncaster yesterday with a central character borrowed from years past. Sir Alex Ferguson may have had his problems within racing, but association with winners has never been among them.

The Manchester United manager is one of 12 owners of Gatwick, who won the mile maiden yesterday, a race which suggested that low to middle numbers will hold the sway when the Lincoln is run tomorrow.

That was also the opinion among connections who took part in a draw ceremony on Town Moor supervised by the soprano Lesley Garrett. The leading trio of Fremen, Alkaadhem and Desert Opal will all emerge from supposedly advantageous boxes.

Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Fremen, was represented by his travelling head lad, Jimmy Scott. "I'm happy with that draw," he said. "He doesn't have to be ridden any particular way and he can make his own pace if he has to.

"The horse is in good form and we are very happy with him. I just hope we have a bit more wind to dry it up. That's the only concern I've got because we wouldn't want it loose on top."

The portents for Pablo becoming the first horse since Babur in 1957 and 1958 to win the first leg of the Spring Double in successive years are not propitious. Barry Hills's runner carries 11lb more than he did 12 months ago and will now compete from the opposite side of the course. He will emerge from the 21 box, as opposed to No 6 last year, and the perceived disadvantage was highlighted by the choices of others. The first 17 horses drawn took up the first 17 stalls.


Nap: Cardinal Venture

(Doncaster 2.50)

NB: No Time

(Doncaster 2.20)