Racing: Three races in the spotlight

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HILLSIDE GIRL Carlisle, 15 June, 2003

HILLSIDE GIRL Carlisle, 15 June, 2003

The two-year-old has not run since being pulled up injured after missing the break, over five furlongs at Carlisle. She started at odds of 6-1, but drifted on the betting exchanges from odds-on to 21-1 and was never in the hunt.

While her career has ended the controversy has rumbled on, culminating in this week's news that her trainer, Alan Berry, is to face a Jockey Club disciplinary inquiry after being charged with conspiring to lay her to lose on the exchanges in the knowledge that she was lame and could not win. Charges have also been brought against her jockey, Paul Bradley, the amateur rider Dale Jewett and blacksmith Steve O'Sullivan, who are attached to Berry's yard.

Investigations have shown that O'Sullivan has a near flawless record in laying horses on the exchanges. It has taken until now to announce that an inquiry is to be held because of his reluctance to hand over his telephone and betting accounts to Jockey Club investigators.

BALLINGER RIDGE, Lingfield, 6 March, 2004

A five-year-old who had yet to win a race, Ballinger Ridge was sent off as the 15-8 second favourite behind 8-11 shot Rye, the eventual winner. Betting on the race was dominated by those two horses.

Ballinger Ridge's jockey, Kieren Fallon, seemed to have adopted enterprising tactics by forcing his mount to the front and a 10-length lead. In the straight, however, he appeared to misjudge how much he had in hand and after looking over his shoulder eased down prematurely. By the time he apparently realised his error, Ballinger Ridge had lost momentum and Rye pipped him by a short-head.

Fallon was banned for 21 days for failing to ride out to the line. Rather than ban him on the spot the Lingfield stewards referred Fallon to the Jockey Club's disciplinary committee, which had been warned before the race that betting on the exchanges suggested some punters believed Ballinger Ridge would lose.

ICE SAINT Fontwell, 8 March, 2004

This was another race to attract media attention after Ice Saint's jockey, Sean Fox, fell off in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Midway through the race, having appeared to jump a fence without difficulty, Ice Saint and Fox parted company. The rider was banned for 21 days by the Fontwell stewards for "stepping off" his mount. But Fox denied any wrong doing and said it was "barmy" to suggest he would jump off a horse travelling at 30mph. He is considering an appeal.

Ice Saint opened at the track at 2-1 before drifting to 4-1. An on-course bookmaker claimed to have been tipped off about the result of the race and the Jockey Club had been alerted to unusual betting patterns beforehand.

The race has inevitably attracted much attention, not just because of Fox's inept riding but because it happened immediately in the aftermath of the allegations surrounding Fallon.