Racing: Trainer banned for three years for corruption

Shaun Keightley has become the latest person to be punished by the Jockey Club in its security department's ongoing, and increasingly successful, clamp-down on wrongdoing within racing. The trainer, a small-time operator based in Leicestershire, was yesterday warned off - banned completely from the sport - for three years after being found guilty of corrupt practices stemming from the running of the horse Red Lancer at Wolverhampton more than two years ago.

Red Lancer, who subsequently proved a smart performer with another trainer, lost all chance of winning a low-grade seven-furlong seller on the day in question when he was left in the stalls, giving his rivals at least six lengths start as he missed the break. Before the race he had drifted in the betting, which alerted the Jockey Club watchdogs to a possible breach of the rules.

But his rider, Pat McCabe, was dealt with relatively leniently yesterday. The disciplinary panel overseeing the case decided that although he did not allow Red Lancer to run on his merits, he was not party to any pre-race betting shenanigans. He was banned from riding for 28 days.

Yesterday's verdicts bring to an end one of the sport's longest-running enquiries, one which involved some of racing's most unsavoury hangers-on. For also accused were three men already excluded from racecourses, training yards and other premises under the Jockey Club's jurisdiction, the London-based tailor Christopher Coleman, his son Dean and Epsom-based builder Neil Yorke. They were banned for corrupt betting practices relating to the case against the now-retired jockey Gary Carter. Another warned-off high-profile punter, Brighton-based John McCracken, also had links to the Red Lancer affair.

The heart of the charges against Keightley were that he was alleged to have passed information that Red Lancer would neither win nor be placed, knowing that Coleman snr, or his associates, would use that knowledge to lay the horse on a betting exchange.

The catalyst in the case was activity on the betting exchanges, particularly the brand leader, Betfair. On the form book Red Lancer had an obvious chance of winning the race after a success over the course and distance in similar company a month earlier. But the gelding, whose starting price was 7-1, drifted from 5-2 to just over 8-1 on the Betfair site prior to the race, while easing in the place market from 8-11 to 7-2. As race time approached, he was increasingly easy to back, and eventually finished ninth of 11, beaten 20 lengths.

In racing, a certain loser - a horse who can be laid with impunity - has always been a far more valuable commodity than a so-called certain winner. Those who can control such an event, and pass the knowledge on so others can benefit, are usually the trainer or jockey.

Time was when only bookmakers and certain of their clients reaped the harvest, secretly and anonymously. Now the exchanges - a 21st century phenomenon which allow anyone to act as bookie - have thrown the art and practice of laying a horse into sharp public relief. And the smoke from any surreptitious fires can be as visible as an Apache's chatline.

Keightley is a former journeyman jump jockey who has trained just 16 winners in four seasons with a trainer's licence. His last runner, It Must Be Speech, finished second at Southwell on Monday. He was punished under five different rules, including those covering corrupt practices, inside information, running horses on their merits, associating with disqualified persons and misleading Jockey Club officials. He told one that the purpose of phone calls to Coleman was to discuss the purchase of suits.

As well as his three-year warning-off, the trainer may not reapply for a licence for a further two years, and was fined £3,500. "The integrity of racing depends on those who work within it to be honest and trustworthy," the Jockey Club spokesman Paul Struthers said. "Keightley's actions in passing information to Coleman and instructing his jockey to lose a race cannot be tolerated."

McCabe rode seven winners last year, but has had just five unplaced rides this year. His ban was seven days more than the upper limit under the non-triers' rule as this was the second time he has been found guilty of stopping a horse. He expressed his relief at being exonerated over the more serious corruption charges.

"This has been hanging over me for two years," he said. "It is a small mercy it is all over now and I can get my career back on track."

Red Lancer went on to win three races as a three-year-old, including the Chester Vase, and earned over £90,000. He is now with Richard Fahey; his latest run, eighth at Doncaster on 5 November, produced far fewer fireworks than that fateful Wolverhampton seller.

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Piper General

(Southwell 1.00)

NB: Wain Mountain

(Exeter 1.40)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future