Four jockeys banned for corruption

BHA hands out more than 26 years' punishment for conspiracy to stop horses and pass information

For those yesterday found guilty of the gravest charges in
racing's latest corruption scandal, the sport will presumably
reserve its unqualified disgust. For Paul Fitzsimons, however,
exoneration can hardly undo the damage already done to his standing and morale. If the latter consideration must weigh heavily with the British Horseracing Authority, whenever it thinks it has grounds to impugn those whose livelihoods depend on their integrity, then those who do betray the sport must acknowledge their role in also blackening the reputation of their peers.

After an arduous process, for all concerned, four journeyman jockeys – Paul Doe, Greg Fairley, Kirsty Milczarek and Jimmy Quinn – were found to have conspired in a fraudulent association with two former owners, in connection with various races run in 2009. The BHA disciplinary panel also found Doe, Fairley and Milczarek in breach of the rule prohibiting the passing of inside information for reward or benefit.

Most grievous of all, however, is the finding that Doe, on two occasions, and Fairley, on one, intentionally ensured that mounts would not show their best. Fairley and Doe have already quit riding, and barely cooperated with the inquiry, neither attending the October hearing.

If these relative degrees of culpability are accepted, however, then Milczarek and especially Quinn will feel that they have at least cleared their names of the most damaging of the charges against them. It is understood that appeals remain likely.

But Fitzsimons will feel aggrieved that he was ever involved in the first place. Fitzsimons, who has quit the saddle since riding It's A Mans World at Lingfield in February 2009, has spent over six months with a cloud hanging over his new career as a trainer. All the riders had been charged with equal levels of malpractice, but Fitzsimons was yesterday absolved of any breaches.

Aside from instigating and coordinating a network between various jockeys and their own associates, Maurice "Fred" Sines and James Crickmore were found guilty of laying horses in their ownership. Five of six unlicensed individuals also charged were found to have had shared in a conspiracy. Paul Scotney, the BHA director of integrity services, stressed that Sines and Crickmore were the core miscreants, having set out to corrupt riders. He added that the scale and complexity of the case was "unprecedented" in the BHA's experience, and thanked the betting industry for its assistance.

Sines and Crickmore were warned off for 14 years. Doe and Fairley, having apparently ended their careers already, were each disqualified for 12. While Quinn is pondering a six-month suspension, Milczarek's solicitor confirmed she would definitely take her two-year ban to the appeal board. "We think the panel's reasoning is flawed," Christopher Stewart-Moore said. "We're going to be appealing, as Kirsty was not involved in any conspiracy of any kind."

Scotney said: "We take no pleasure in uncovering such serious breaches of the rules of racing. The case underlines that there is no room for complacency. The threat from those seeking to gain an advantage at betting, through the misuse of inside information, is ever present. The livelihoods of those in racing are at stake if they allow themselves to be corrupted by individuals. That includes not just those licensed or registered under the rules of racing but also those outside the sport who are prepared to go to great lengths to satisfy their greed. "

So far as Fitzsimons was concerned, however, Scotney was unrepentant. "It is our responsibility to identify potential wrongdoing and investigate it," he said. "In the course of this investigation it was established that all five licensed personnel had a case to answer in relation to specific races. It is then the role of the independent disciplinary panel to weigh up the strength of the evidence placed before them. As is explained in the findings, their conclusions are based on the balance of probabilities."

Andrew Chalk, his solicitor, said Fitzsimons was delighted that the case against him had been thrown out. "He did nothing wrong and was extremely disappointed when he was dragged into such a lengthy and complicated enquiry," he said. "It has been a considerable ordeal, throughout which Paul has conducted himself with great dignity. Paul leaves the BHA with his head held high. It's testament to him that he has been able to keep up the business of training with this massive distraction over the last year."

The sport's professionals and regulators – not to mention the police – have all had to learn the hard way about the changing betting landscape. Perhaps this case will be the final, heartbreaking lesson endured by a community that must surely now have a better sense of the pitfalls and paranoia that have proliferated since the advent of betting exchanges.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Valley View (2.50 Exeter) Impressive when winning on his chase debut last season but lost his way until last time out, at Towcester, under this rider.

Next best

Arrayan (1.20 Exeter) Improving fast until disappointing at Sandown in March and shaped well on his recent return, at the same track, not getting home over a much longer trip.

Where the money's going

Dynaste is 5-1 from 6-1 with Paddy Power to crown his improvement against Big Buck's in Ascot's Long Walk Hurdle on Saturday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...