Racing: McGrath argues Top Cees `could have and should have won'

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The Independent Online
THE High Court jury hearing the libel action by trainer Lynda Ramsden, her husband Jack and champion jockey Kieren Fallon's over an allegation of cheating was told yesterday that it would be a sad day if The Sporting Life could not comment on what it considered a "scandal".

Opening the newspaper's defence in London, Richard Hartley QC, said it was "vital" that racing should be conducted honestly. The Ramsdens, together with Fallon, are suing over an editorial in the Life in May 1995, the day after their horse Top Cees won the Chester Cup.

The article said the trio conspired to deceive the racing public by deliberately not trying to win the Swaffham Handicap at Newmarket three weeks before. Publishers MGN deny libel.

Mr Hartley said the best evidence would be if he could produce someone who could say they overheard someone telling Mr Fallon not to win at Newmarket. "But we do not have that evidence. We will invite you to draw the inference that such instruction was given."

Jim McGrath, a Channel 4 presenter, was called as an expert witness by the Life. He told Mr Justice Morland that Top Cees "could have and should have won" at Newmarket. McGrath said: "My opinion of the riding was that the tactics were designed not to obtain the best possible position." The case continues today.

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