Racing: Jockey Club accused of bias as Akehurst loses appeal: Knowth's trainer blames unhealthy Headquarters influence as a costly demotion is upheld

RACE RELATIONS were unsteadied again yesterday when Reg Akehurst, the Epsom trainer, accused the Jockey Club of bias towards Newmarket trainers after losing his appeal against last week's disqualification of Knowth at Goodwood.

The Jockey Club was founded at Newmarket in the mid-1750s and there are trainers from other parts of Britain who feel racing's rulers have never lost an affinity for the town of their birth.

Only recently another Epsom trainer, Geoff Lewis, criticised the Jockey Club Estates, a subsidiary of the Portman Square organisation, for sending owners a brochure extolling the virtues of Headquarters. Lewis described this exercise was 'unethical' and said the attempt to attract owners away from the smaller yards was like 'taking from Peter to feed Paul'.

Akehurst returned to this theme yesterday. Everybody was aware, he said, that the Jockey Club Estates had solicited racehorse owners around the country suggesting that they have their horses trained at Newmarket. 'They do seem to like to promote Newmarket and I'm sure this did not help me in the inquiry.'

Akehurst felt he had several opponents in the opposite corner as Rose Alto, the horse which was promoted from second place to first place after Knowth's disqualification, is trained at a Newmarket stable and owned by cousins of Lord Vestey, a Steward of the Jockey Club.

'They listened to everything we said, but we lost of course,' he said. 'If it had been in a court with a judge and jury we would have won, but you just can't beat the system. I went ahead with this appeal because of the weight of opinion for us and despite what's happened I would do the same thing again.'

Akehurst's deposition also included the unlikely contention that George Duffield, the rider of Rose Alto, had broken the rules, by taking the ground of two other horses during the Goodwood race.

David Pipe, the Jockey Club's spokesman, said Akehurst's suggestions of an unfair hearing were groundless. 'What the Jockey Club Estates do would have no bearing on this case,' he said.

'They are a subsidiary of the Jockey Club, but they have their own board and make their own decisions. They were carrying out a marketing and promotional exercise when they wrote to owners about having their horses trained in Newmarket.'

Pipe emphasised that Lord Vestey was 'not involved in this case in any way at all'.

The Club's disciplinary committee took 90 minutes to confirm the Goodwood stewards' ruling that Danny Wright, Knowth's apprentice jockey, had been guilty of careless riding in allowing his mount to hamper Rose Alto. The disqualification means the gelding's owners will collect only pounds 11,775 instead of the pounds 39,168 first prize.

The frustration for Wright, Akehurst, Knowth's owners and everyone who backed the gelding was magnified by the fact that Knowth was palpably the best horse in last Tuesday's William Hill Cup. While the Jockey Club could claim the local stewards acted within the letter of the law, they would have less success in persuading observers that the law is just.

While Akehurst's attempt to embarrass the Goodwood stewards failed, there was a group of men who stepped in to do the job for him: the Goodwood stewards. For Wright received the salt- in-the wound treatment yesterday, having an initial caution over the offence turned into a one-day riding ban following the revelation that the local stewards had mistakenly believed he was a 7lb claimer.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Arts and Entertainment
music

News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
News
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

IT Security Advisor – Permanent – Surrey - £60k-£70k

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

MI Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – £25k-£35k

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Geography Teacher

£100 - £160 per day + mileage and expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: This out...

KS2 supply teacher

£80 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting fo...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album