Racing: Phone call records lead to long ban for Carter

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The Independent Online

The rider's punishment - for an assortment of serious rules breaches, including passing information to punters about non-trying mounts - was the first to result from the Jockey Club's power, obtained through a High Court ruling, to examine the private mobile phone and computer records of an unlicenced individual.

The pattern of communication thus obtained between Carter and Christopher Coleman, a London-based tailor and gambler already declared a disqualified person, produced damning evidence of corrupt betting practice.

In July last year, Carter, 39, was charged with deliberately losing eight races inside an eight-week period in 2003 for financial gain. Those charges were later rescinded but after a hearing last month the Jockey Club's disciplinary panel, chaired by Lord Rath-creedan, found Carter guilty of the rules dealing with providing information for reward, aiding and abetting a breach of the rules, associating with an excluded person and endeavouring to mislead Jockey Club officials.

Neither Carter, who was also fined £2,000, nor Coleman attended the hearing. The ban on Coleman, who had admitted rewarding jockeys for information in 2001 when he gave evidence at the trial of ex-jockey Barrie Wright, who was acquitted of charges of conspiracy to import cocaine, was extended indefinitely and four of his associates similarly accused also warned off.

The eight horses involved were Meadaaf at Newmarket on 1 August, Aljazeera at Doncaster on 2 August, Kristal's Dream at Windsor on 4 August, Tasneef and Dodona at Lingfield on 8 August, Silvaline at Pontefract on 17 August, Saxe-Coburg at Warwick on 25 August and Lilli Marlene at Ascot on 26 September.

On each occasion, Carter rode a reasonably well- fancied horse that was beaten. Each of his mounts was heavily backed to lose through accounts at the Betfair betting exchange that were in the name of, or used by, the other individuals whose conduct was considered at the inquiry.

The betting patterns aroused suspicion at Betfair and the Jockey Club's security department began its detailed investigation. It was found that Carter made and received numerous calls to one particular mobile number - coded by the investigators as "the 163 number" - before and often within minutes of the end of the races in question, at a time before the Jockey Club's crackdown on jockeys' use of mobiles on the racecourse. Although the rider denied it, it was established that he was speaking to Coleman.

All Carter's mounts were laid to lose considerable sums on the exchanges. In the case of Meadaaf, a total of £52,682 was risked to win £10,127. In that of Dodona, it was £95,079 for just £13,174. The total laid out was £483,790 and the total return £83,121, easy money for a certain result.

In among all the telephone and computer evidence, there was one striking aspect of Carter's conduct that was considered something of a give-away.

In Dodona's race, the filly was beaten a short-head into second place after being coaxed, rather than driven, to challenge and was struck in the face by the winning jockey's whip. At a subsequent inquiry on the track, Carter hardly fought his corner, denying he had suffered any interference. The places remained unaltered and the bets were settled.

At a later appeal by Dodona's trainer Tim McCarthy, Carter changed his tune with a vengeance, claiming the only thing that had stopped her winning was the smack on the head. Lord Rathcreedan's panel concluded that Carter's evidence to their Lingfield colleagues had been shaped by his part in the corrupt betting operation.

Although charges of non-trying against Carter were withdrawn, the panel concluded that, in the light of other evidence that since emerged, the jockey did not ride the named horses to achieve the best possible result. He was passing information to Coleman about how his rides would perform, which motivated him and his allies to carry out their betting operation.

In a statement yesterday, Carter said he was "stun-ned", adding: "I am disappointed to hear the outcome of the case and believe this penalty very harsh."

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Galtee View

(Worcester 3.20)

NB: Breaking Breeze

(Wincanton 3.30)