Lynch a 'very talented and stylish' rider, trainer tells Old Bailey

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The Independent Online

A trainer described one of the jockeys in the £2m race-fixing trial at the Old Bailey yesterday as "a very talented rider". Kevin Ryan said Fergal Lynch had a good understanding of horses and was a good tactical rider as well as being "very stylish".

Ryan agreed with defence counsel George Carter-Stephenson, QC, that Lynch would "bide his time" and then "come on strong" in the last couple of furlongs. "He was very successful," said Ryan, himself a former jockey.

Lynch is accused of plotting to allow CD Europe, one of Ryan's horses, to lose at a race at Southwell in February, 2003, to allow a betting syndicate to win money. DC Europe came eighth out of a field of 10.

The prosecution allege it made £1,973 for the syndicate. A stewards' inquiry found the horse had been "ridden tenderly in the early stages". Lynch was given a seven-day riding ban.

Ryan said he was disappointed with the race but agreed that the horse was slow starting and had a lot of ground to make up.

He added: "Fergal always knew the horse came first. I would not have wanted him to pick up the stick and hit him seven or eight times because it would have discouraged the horse more. He knew what I thought of my horses and he knew how I wanted them treated."

Six men, including six- times champion jockey Kieren Fallon, deny conspiracy involving 27 horses between December 2002 and August 2004.

Jockeys Kieren Fallon, 42, formerly of Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, but now of Tipperary, Ireland; Fergal Lynch, 29, of Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire; and Darren Williams, 29, of Leyburn, North Yorkshire, all deny the charge. Shaun Lynch, 38, of Belfast; Miles Rodgers, 38, of Silkstone, South Yorkshire; and Philip Sherkle, 42, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, also plead not guilty. Rodgers also denies concealing the proceeds of crime. The trial continues today.