Racing: Jockey charged with race-fixing

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM BRADLEY, one of the most senior and successful riders in the National Hunt weighing room, was charged yesterday with "conspiracy to cheat", at the end of a two-year police investigation into alleged doping and race-fixing. He will appear before Bow Street Magistrates Court today.

Bradley, 38, was charged under Section 1 (i) of the Criminal Law Act, 1977, in connection with a race at Warwick on 5 November 1996. Bradley rode Man Mood, who started a hot favourite at 7-4 on to beat his only rival, Drumstick, in the Oliver Cromwell Handicap Chase, but was pulled up by Bradley midway through the race. According to the official form book, Man Mood led to the 11th fence, but was pulled up approaching the 12th. Drumstick, a 5-4 chance, finished alone.

A police statement said that the jockey had been charged that "on or before 5 November 1996 within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court, he did conspire with others to win for himself or others from bookmakers sums of money through wagering on the event of a horse race, by fraud or other unlawful devices in that he agreed that Man Mood, ridden by him, would not win the said race."

Charlie Brooks, the former trainer who prepared Man Mood but was holidaying in South Africa on the day of the race, was arrested along with Bradley in early January, but he was told yesterday that he will face no further action.

Brooks, who has retired as a trainer last year but still has a close involvement with horseracing via several media roles, arrived at Charing Cross police station at 1.00pm to answer bail, and 25 minutes later, Monty Raphael, his legal representative, emerged to read a statement.

"Mr Brooks has been told that the police intend to take no further action so far as he is concerned," he said. "You will appreciate this has been a trying business for him and his family, he is therefore pleased that the matter has ended and that he can return to his life and future career. He is particularly appreciative of all those in the racing world who have given him such tremendous support."

Yesterday's charge against Bradley is thought to be unprecedented, the first ever brought against a current, licensed jockey by the police in connection with alleged race-fixing.

Bradley has ridden winners at all the top tracks, including Cheltenham and Aintree. Last Saturday he rode Suny Bay into 13th place in the Grand National at Aintree. In 1998, the same partnership finished second in the National to Earth Summit. At Aintree in 1993, he rode Morley Street, a notably quirky character, to win the Martell Aintree Hurdle - a performance regarded as the finest piece of horsmanship seen for many years. In 1985, Bradley rode Rhyme 'N' Reason to victory in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

Bradley will also now be required to attend a meeting with the stewards of the Jockey Club in the near future. In a statement issued yesterday, the Club said that "in view of the serious nature of the charge, he will be asked to attend a meeting with the stewards, at which they will consider what, if any, action to be taken under the Rules of Racing. Graham Bradley will have the opportunity to be legally represented at the meeting."

The Jockey Club added that they anticipate that meeting taking place by the end of this week.

Yesterday's charge marks the low point of a riding career which has often swung wildly between success and controversy. In the course of almost two decades in the saddle, Bradley has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Bregawn as long ago as 1983, and the Champion Hurdle just three years ago, on Collier Bay. In that year's race, Bradley had been expected to partner Alderbrook, the defending champion, but lost the ride after oversleeping.