Jockey defends ride at race-fixing trial

One of the accused jockeys in the race-fixing trial declared he had given his horse a "good ride" in one of the suspected races, the court heard yesterday.

Darren Williams, 29, had been quizzed by Jockey Club investigators in January 2003. They wanted to know about his tactics for his ride on Legal Set, who finished third at Lingfield on 30 December, 2002. The price on the horse drifted from 9-4 to 5-1 on Betfair, the online betting exchange, and was sent off at 4-1.

Williams was asked if he gave the horse "too much to do" after being held up at the rear, and if he dropped his hands to give the horse a "tender finish". Williams said he was "quite annoyed actually" at this suggestion.

"I gave the horse a good ride to the instructions given to me," according to the interview, which was read in court. "I got stopped twice on one run, on the straight and just turning in.

"The other thing I'd like to say is I've always won on that horse – not hitting him ever. Same as Fergal Lynch. He's won on him on the same tactics – not hitting him."

Williams, Lynch and the six-time champion jockey Kieren Fallon are among six defendants accused of involvement in a conspiracy with others between December 2002 and September 2004 to defraud Betfair punters.

Legal Set was owned by Platinum Racing and trained by Karl Burke. Williams spoke to Burke after the race and told him Legal Set "really enjoyed being dropped in". Williams told the investigator: "I said [to Burke] I should really have won and apologised to the owners, telling them if I could have ridden the race again I would have done a couple of things different. I also asked Mr Burke if I could ride him again the same way and he agreed."

Fallon, 42, and fellow jockeys Fergal Lynch, 29 and Williams deny the charge. Shaun Lynch, 37, Miles Rodgers, 38, and Philip Sherkle, 42, also plead not guilty. Rodgers also denies concealing the proceeds of crime.

The Rodgers accounts had staked £73,820 on Legal Set to lose and stood to make £20,759 if it did lose, the jury has been told.

Rodgers was interviewed by the Jockey Club in January 2003. He denied betting that Legal Set would lose in the Lingfield race.

He said he did not have a Betfair account but refused to give permission for the investigator to approach Betfair or any other exchange about any account.

The hearing was adjourned until Monday.

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