Racing: Cochrane to face non-trier inquiry

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RAY COCHRANE will be back on the mat later this month as the Jockey Club adjudicates on whether he is guilty of riding a "non-trier" and acting in a manner "prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing".

The Derby-winning jockey has only recently emerged from the ongoing investigation into race-fixing and doping within racing. No charges were brought against him.

Now Cochrane must answer to his riding of Keld at Lingfield on 7 May. The four-year-old filly was an uneasy favourite in the market that day, drifting from 11-10 to 2-1 before finishing fifth behind The Prince, who was well backed from 6-1 to 4-1. The manner of her defeat was similarly eyecatching. Cochrane took an individual route on the far rail, a tactic which had proved fruitless when attempted by two runners earlier in the afternoon.

Punters expressed their resentment and there was dissatisfaction too from off-course bookmakers who reported unusual betting patterns. Cochrane said at the time that he had simply made an error of judgement. Keld has subsequently finished second in a Listed race.

The Lingfield stewards referred the matter to Portman Square, not least because Keld's trainer, James Fanshawe, was not at the course to account for his filly's display. And there was also the further evidence of the betting patterns. "The security department have been collecting a number of statements. A much higher number of people have been involved than usual," John Maxse, the Jockey Club spokesman, said yesterday. "Statements have been taken from betting representatives on and off the course and from a number of other people as well."

These statements were reviewed by a panel combining stewards of the Jockey Club and members of the disciplinary department. They decided there was a case for an inquiry.

Cochrane has been informed and will now be given time to organise legal representation and prepare his defence. The inquiry will be held in about three weeks' time.

Under Rule 151 which governs non-triers, the Jockey Club has scope to suspend riders. In 1997, Terry Lucas was banned for 10 days and the trainer Mick Easterby fined pounds 2,500, both retrospectively, after Wait'n'see had followed up a poor run with an emphatic success at Carlisle. The following year, Daragh O'Donohoe was suspended for seven days in similar circumstances. Eight days after finishing unplaced at Newbury for O'Donohoe, Silken Dalliance won a valuable Ascot handicap. Her trainer, Lord Huntingdon, went unpunished.

The Jockey Club will also be asked to adjudicate on the result of a photo- finish at Newcastle on Wednesday. William Haggas, the trainer of the official short-head runner-up, Chiquita, has asked for the print to be re-examined.

The result of Gosforth Park's opening contest took 40 minutes to announce, principally because light had got into the photo-finish camera, leaving a somewhat fuzzy image for the racecourse judge, Alistair Stewart, to decipher. "I've got the print in front of me now and it is difficult to tell," Haggas said yesterday. "It is unclear. This is a totally bizarre situation, but hopefully it will be wrapped up by the weekend."