Racing: Pitman quits trainers' body

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The Independent Online
JENNY PITMAN has handed in her resignation to the National Trainers' Federation following the circulation with the organisation's newsletter of a spread-betting advertisement which she believes may be an inducement to cheat with horses, writes Richard Edmondson.

Britain's best-known woman trainer said yesterday she would step down unless the NTF distanced itself from Sporting Index, the sponsors of the trainers' championship. Pitman's main concern is that horses can be supported with the firm to do badly as well as win a race.

'We don't need to entice people to tamper with our horses or staff because it could lead to malpractice,' Pitman said. 'It could lead to people not running their horses honestly, not running them to the best of their ability, and it's a lot easier to get horses beaten than to get them to win.

'Since I was doing my two (as a stable-lass) I've known that bookmakers are more interested in horses that weren't going to win rather than those that were. That's how they make their money.'

Wally Pyrah, of Sporting Index, replied by saying that wagers on the performance of individual horses were offered only in top races, in which prize-money far outweighed the potential gains from spread betting. He added that his company was just offering a fun wager. 'If Jenny is saying that this is an invitation for horses to run badly, then you can say there are many other methods of gaining from that outside Sporting Index,' Pyrah said.

Erhaab, the Derby winner, has been sold by Hamdam Al Maktoum to the Agricultural Association East Stud in Hokkaido, Japan, where he will stand at stud. The purchase price has not been revealed.