Racing: Club may meet a wall of silence

Notable Basils, especially when it comes to flapping, are usually restricted to Lambourn and Torquay, but the village of Wellingore in Lincolnshire provided another yesterday.

Basil Richmond, the small-time trainer, was swiftly in touch with the Jockey Club from his yard after allegations that he had trained a horse to victory under Rules that had made its name on the unlicensed flapping fields of Scotland.

The sleuths of Portman Square are to investigate reports that Pretty Average, who won a ladies' selling handicap at Thirsk last month, was not just Pretty Average, but also Short And Sweet, the front-running leading light on the flapping circuit in Border country. The Jockey Club detectives will doubtlessly be impressed by the information that Pretty Average made all to win her race.

Before yesterday, the best horse Richmond had trained seemed to be Supreme Vista. It may be that he had another at Hall Stables with more victories to her name without even knowing. Ignorance was the theme of the message when the 59-year-old contacted racing's masters.

"I don't know anything about her flapping and if she has been then I've been duped," Richmond said. "All this about flapping is news to me and is obviously something I don't want to be associated with.''

The trainer will have to produce more than this. "We had a conversation with Mr Richmond this morning and we certainly wish to speak to him again, in person, in the future," John Maxse, of the Jockey Club, said.

Upturned palms under questioning were also available from Tommy Craig, the former trainer who supervised Pretty Average's two-year-old career before she left his Dunbar stable. "I haven't heard a word about her since she left the yard," he said. "I think she went back Lanarkshire way with her owner, but I don't remember much about her. I wasn't surprised to see her win because I thought she was capable of winning a race. But I did wonder where she'd been all that time.''

Among the questions (presumably) that will be directed at Richmond, is why his horse was backed down to 20-1 from an opening 50-1 at Thirsk. The good news for him is that allegations of this kind rarely come to anything, and there will be an offence only if connections were aware of the mare's previous history. "Knowing about it is important," David Pipe, of the Jockey Club, said. "It may be that the horse was bought with its passport and they never knew about it flapping.

"There have been allegations of flapping in the past but I can't remember a case where it has been proven - that people have known about it. Obviously, if someone knew a horse had been flapping and then brought it back to race it's a very serious offence.''

The horse called Short And Sweet last ran officially at the beginning of July when capturing a six-furlong flapping event at Hawick. If investigators from Portman Square plan to travel to a bed and breakfast in the Borders it seems they will get the coldest room and a similar reception.

This form of racing has been organised in this Scottish town since the 16th century. Those who promote the meetings (attracting four-figure crowds) are suspicious of both those over the border and men at the helm of a different code.

Les Dodds, of the Hawick Horseracing Association, did not suggest the bunting was being prepared when he admitted that his body would not necessarily co-operate with any inquiry. "They refuse to recognise us in any way," he said yesterday, "so I don't think we will be helping them at all.''

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...