Racing: Two cleared but Bradley rebailed

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The Independent Online
THE GREAT racing bust was made to look even more feeble yesterday when the jockeys Dean Gallagher and Ray Cochrane were released without charge. They join Leighton Aspell and Jamie Osborne as riders freed from the tentacles of suspicion in the enduring doping and race-fixing enquiry. After yesterday's movements at Charing Cross police station only Graham Bradley and the former trainer Charlie Brooks, who is in South Africa, are still accountable among racing industry participants. Both must answer bail in a fortnight.

However, five who do not depend on the Jockey Club for licences were charged with "interference with the fair running of horses in horse-racing by the administration of a performance-inhibiting drug" - i.e. doping. Ray Butler, Adam Hodgson (landscape gardener), Jason Moore (punter), John Matthews and Glen Gill (professional gambler) are the men in question.

There have been rumblings within this most corruptible of endeavours since 1996, when an investigation was initiated by the Jockey Club unhappy with elements within the sport. This worry was heightened when Avanti Express and Lively Knight were doped with the tranquilliser ACP in March of the following year. Among jockeys, who are used to early mornings, there were soon some strange callers.

Gallagher has been on suspicion row the longest. He was originally apprehended in January of last year, along with Leighton Aspell and Jamie Osborne, who were informed in April and October respectively that no charges would be made against them. He has continued to ride in the interim. "It has been a long investigation but, like everybody else, he's just relieved it's finally over," the jockey's solicitor, Douglas Fordham, said last night.

As Gallagher and Cochrane emerged they were escorted by Michael Caulfield, the executive manager of the Jockeys' Association. "Thank God it's all over," he said. "It really is a huge relief after all this time.

"No-one can appreciate what these jockeys have been through. They have kept going and shown great courage and dignity as well. We have always maintained, and have been proven correct, that jockeys were not involved. I am delighted because they have been through sheer mental torture. This was a huge hurdle and we've flown it and now there's just one to go."

Almost 14 months on from arrest Gallagher can now fly the highest. "He'll be pleased to get back on the racecourse and ride," Caulfield said. "To ride with this on your back has been virtually impossible for them to carry on riding and to be successful reflects very well on them.

"I'm sure Brad will be heartened by today's news. He was a late arrival in all this and I'm sure he and Charlie Brooks will soon be out of it, thank God."

When Nigel Troth, due to report to Charing Cross police station next week, was arrested in January this year he was the 15th detained in the inquiry. Seven have now been released.

This may not shine brightly on the Jockey Club investigators and particularly Roger Buffham, Portman Square's head of security. If the mandarins have not been able to grab any celebrated figures they were at least happy to grip straws yesterday. "The Jockey Club considers the fact some charges have been brought at least brings this investigation a significant step nearer to conclusion," Christopher Foster, the executive director, said.

In an additional statement, the Jockey Club said: "The five people charged today with conspiracy to defraud bookmakers and others are being notified that the Jockey Club is to consider whether to exclude them from all licensed premises until the outcome of the criminal proceedings is known.

"While none of the five is licensed by the Jockey Club, the stewards can exclude them on the grounds that due to the serious nature of the charges their presence at any licensed training yard and racecourse is undesirable." If only the Jockey Club could also have similar powers to ban the stink that has appeared around the sport they administer.

HOW THE RACE-FIXING AND DOPING INVESTIGATION UNFOLDED

1997: February: The Jockey Club inform the police of concerns about race-fixing and its security department passes on evidence.

7 March: Avanti Express, who has drifted in the betting to 5-4 second favourite after opening the 4-5 favourite, is well-beaten in a novices' hurdle at Exeter. His jockey, Jamie Osborne, says after the race the gelding had "not picked up the bit and was never travelling". The stewards interview Avanti Express's trainer Charlie Egerton but he can offer no explanation. Avanti Express is dope tested.

29 March: Lively Knight, the 1-7 favourite for a novices' chase at Plumpton, finishes second of three, beaten seven lengths by an outsider. The stewards ask questions but the trainer Josh Gifford has no explanation for the bad run. Leighton Aspell, Lively Knight's jockey says: "There wasn't anything obviously wrong about him, but I would say he seemed very quiet, abnormally so." Lively Knight is dope tested.

9 October: The Jockey Club reveals security officials are looking into the defeats of Avanti Express and Lively Knight after the dope tests proved positive.

10 October: The Jockey Club establishes links between the two cases. Avanti Express and Lively Knight were given the prohibited fast-acting tranquilliser acetylpromazine (ACP). The drug revealed itself in urine tests as 2-1-hydroxyethyl promazine, a metabolite of ACP. The Metropolitan Police are called in to investigate the two incidents.

1998: 27 January: The Metropolitan Police arrest four people in connection with the doping of two horses in 1997 and for race-fixing. The jockeys Jamie Osborne, Dean Gallagher, Leighton Aspell and Ray Butler are released on bail, 12 hours after they were held in dawn raids in Lambourn, Findon and London. They are not charged.

28 January: The three jockeys have their licences suspended.

30 January: Police arrest the punter Jason Moore, who is bailed to 29 April.

2 February: Police arrest and bail John Matthews.

4 February: The three jockeys are handed their licences back.

5 February: Aspell breaks collar-bone and ribs in fall at Towcester on first ride back.

13 February: Police arrest and bail the professional gambler Glen Gill. He is bailed.

23 April: Aspell is told that he is to be released without further questioning.

9 June: man is arrested and bailed after police search addresses in Fulham, St John's Wood and Weybridge. He is subsequently informed no action will be taken against him.

28 June: Gallagher and Osborne have their bail extended to October.

29 June: A 24-year-old man in Fareham is arrested and bailed.

16 July: The police release photographs of two further men they wish to question, both pictured at Exeter racecourse.

20 August: Police arrest and bail 35-year-old landscape gardener and punter Adam Hodgson, in Slough in Berkshire.

16 September: 52-year-old Brian Wright is arrested and bailed after voluntarily attending a police station in Central London.

5 October: Jamie Osborne is told he is to be released without charge, although the Metropolitan Police will be submitting a report to the Crown Prosecution Service.

6 October: Dean Gallagher and six other men (Ray Butler, Glen Gill, Adam Hodgson, John Matthews, Jason Moore and Brian Wright) have bail extended to January.

19 November: Osborne is cleared.

30 December: Six men, including Dean Gallagher, are re-bailed to 10 March, but Brian Wright is released.

1999: 8 January: The jockeys Ray Cochrane and Graham Bradley and the former trainer Charlie Brooks are arrested and bailed to 10 March.

13 January: Nigel Troth, a punter and bookmaker from Chesterfield, is arrested and bailed until 17 March.

Yesterday: Ray Cochrane and Dean Gallagher are told no charges are to be made against them but Graham Bradley is re-bailed to appear in April. Five men (Adam Hodgson, Glen Gill, Jason Moore, Ray Butler and John Matthews) are charged with conspiracy to defraud by the "interference with the fair running of horses in horse-racing by the administration of a performance- inhibiting drug". They are bailed to appear at Bow Street Magistrates Court in March.

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