Racing: Bradley may be back on track at Stratford

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM BRADLEY could be riding at Stratford on Friday after he had his licence returned by the Jockey Club yesterday. The 38-year-old jump jockey had charges of "conspiracy to cheat" dropped by police earlier this month.

The Jockey Club suspended Bradley's licence two months ago following the rider's arrest and the subsequent charge, which revolved around a race at Warwick in 1996.

Earlier this month that charge was dropped due to insufficient evidence and Bradley immediately announced his intention to reapply for his licence. After a 25-minute meeting with the licensing panel, Bradley said: "It was a very quick meeting, very informal and I just had a quick chat in there. They said they were going to give me my licence back.

"I wasn't really allowed to say anything, I just asked a couple of little questions."

Bradley is convinced that the events which lead to his arrest and subsequent charge, which arose from the on-going investigation into alleged doping and race-fixing, are now wholly behind him. "It's been very traumatic for the last six months. I've been to hell and back. But everybody's been beautiful. Everybody's been very supportive. Racing's a very small, close- knit community and thankfully everybody has just been outstanding.

"A lot of people have told me it should never have happened in the first place, should never have got as far as it had gone. I am glad it is all behind me now and I can look forward. I can't wait for my first winner.

"I can't ride forever, but I didn't want to finish on those terms. I always knew 100 per cent that I'd done absolutely nothing wrong."

"I'm 38 now and I'll definitely ride to the end of the year. I'll see how many winners I ride, see what horses I get offered and play it by ear."

While Bradley's big day comes on Friday, the most important race of the week in Britain, Saturday's Northumberland Plate, drew a declaration of 32 at yesterday's five-day declaration stage. The safety limit for the race is 20.

Paul Cole may be double-handed as he attempts to complete a hat-trick of wins. He has declared both Salmon Ladder and Generosity for the pounds 125,000 contest which he has won with Windsor Castle and Cyrian in the past two years.

The bookmakers are likely to open betting today on Sunday's Irish Derby in which the first three home in the Epsom original, Oath, Daliapour and Beat All, face the challenge of the Prix du Jockey-Club winner Montjeu, if the going is no firmer than good, and the impressive Royal Ascot winner Mutafaweq, if he is supplemented for the race today.