Kieren Fallon's performance on one of the horses he is alleged to have ridden with corrupt intentions was yesterday described as "perfect" by its trainer. Summoned to give evidence to the race-fixing trial at the Old Bailey, Alan Jarvis gave the six-times champion jockey his unqualified support.
Right Answer, second in a nursery at York in July 2004, is one of 17 horses ridden by Fallon to have been linked by the prosecution with an alleged conspiracy to protect bets laid by Miles Rodgers, a professional gambler. Fallon, Rodgers and four other men – including two more jockeys – have been accused of conspiracy to defraud customers of the online betting exchange, Betfair. All the defendants deny the charges.
Shown a video of the race by the counsel for the Crown, Jonathan Caplan QC, Jarvis said: "I think he gave it a perfect ride. It was the best race [Right Answer] ever ran in his life. I was more than satisfied."
Questioned by Fallon's counsel, John Kelsey-Fry QC, Jarvis agreed that Right Answer, in carrying 22lbs more than the winner, had made an "enormous" concession of weight – not least when Kelsey-Fry demonstrated the subsequent achievements of the winner, who ended up rated just 1lb inferior to Right Answer.
Kelsey-Fry asked Jarvis, in those circumstances, what he made of allegations that Fallon had been intent on ensuring that Right Answer did not win. "I think it's absolute rubbish," Jarvis replied. "How can anyone know, unless they've asked what riding instructions I have given, how can you form a judgment? Nobody ever interviewed me. The first I knew of [Right Anser's involvement] was when I read about it in the paper. [He's the] best jockey in the world. He always tries, I've never had any doubt about any horse he's ridden for me."
The case continues.