McCloy backed by colleagues

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Matthew McCloy, the beleaguered chairman of the British Horseracing Board's Industry Committee, yesterday won a seat on the board itself for a four-year term. More importantly, in receiving the backing of his fellow committee members, McCloy can perhaps start to put behind him the controversy that surrounded his trip to the Breeders' Cup when he was held in police custody.

McCloy was the only nominee for the position by yesterday's deadline and a proposal to extend the time allowed for nominations came from those that have been unhappy about McCloy's conduct. It. was rejected by a significant majority.

In October, en route to the Breeders' Cup in New York, McCloy was handcuffed on the plane and detained for 48 hours. He pleaded guilty to the minor offence of disorderly conduct and, by not contesting it, secured his release and a speedy return to Britain.

McCloy was asked to explain his conduct at the recent Industry Committee Forum but chose to ignore questions from trainers and breeders representatives. Only afterwards did he offer an apology.

Despite continued disquiet from some areas of the industry, he has ridden the storm. Both the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association representative, Gerald Leigh, and the National Trainers Federation's Ian Balding attended yesterday's meeting.

The Industry Committee executive, Annie Dodd, said: "There had been talk of extending the deadline and it was Matthew who brought it up before the committee today. But the level of support was minimal and most felt it was best all round if we stuck to what we said we would do.

"Matthew offered to tell anybody on the committee who was interested what happened in New York. Maybe a couple took up the offer privately, but there was nothing expected of him beyond that.

"This is the committee telling the world of its confidence in Matthew McCloy representing their views. It should put an end to the whole discussion so that we can get down to some proper work."