Racing: Hoad cleared of weight switch: Richard Edmondson on yesterday's Jockey Club hearing

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ROGER HOAD, the Lewes trainer, and his jockey son, Mark, were cleared of cheating at the Jockey Club yesterday.

Following an investigation at Portman Square, the Club's Disciplinary Committee threw out suggestions that Hoad had passed weights to his 26-year-old son after a race at Lingfield in February.

The allegations arose following a handicap hurdle at the Surrey course, which was won by Hoad's Carfax, the 9-4 favourite. As the gelding returned to the winners' enclosure, a Racecourse Technical Services' cameraman allegedly saw the trainer supply lead which Hoad junior slipped down the front of his breaches; that, in effect, he was correcting the seven-year-old's weight after it had run with less than its allocated burden. The cameraman's interpretation of the day was supported by evidence from an ambulanceman.

Both Hoad and his son strenuously denied this accusation and yesterday their version of events was accepted.

'Obviously they are delighted that they were found not to be in breach,' William Norris, the Hoads' barrister, said. 'This was a most serious inquiry into very serious allegations of a criminal nature. Unquestionably their careers were on the line.

'They would like it to be made clear that they do not believe the allegations against them were manufactured out of bad feeling or by people who did not believe they were telling the truth. They had both said that the photographer and ambulanceman were simply mistaken in saying that they saw anything sinister in what either did and that what in fact they saw was Mr Hoad congratulating his son.

Though the trainer cleared his name, he will still lose the Lingfield race. In a separate inquiry, Hoad was found guilty of running Carfax when the horse was not qualified as his ownership details had not been registered.

The Lewes trainer was punished for three breaches of the Rules, but no action was taken against the four partners in the horse, who included David Roberts, an agent for several leading jockeys.

In addition to Carfax's disqualification and the race being awarded to the original second home, Sailor Boy, Hoad was fined pounds 160.

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