Matt Chapman weighs in on racing’s latest corruption case in this week’s column


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Matt Chapman speaks to the likes of jockey Robert Winston and trainer John Berry to get their views on BHA barrister Louis Weston’s comments in the trial

BHA barrister Louis Weston should be slamming the authority he represents according to one top jockey on the back of racing’s latest corruption case.

Earlier this week, trainer John Wainwright was one of five people charged with corruption offences over the performance of a horse who ran in a race more than three years ago.

The case also involves former jockey Adam Carter, stable employee Paul Bradley plus John Wright and Peter Bennett, who are not registered or licensed persons.


The charges followed a BHA investigation into the running of the Wainwright-trained Blazeofenchantment, who finished seventh of nine under Carter in a Southwell handicap in June 2014 on his first start for the stable, for which he went off a 4-1 chance.

Wainwright, Carter and Wright are alleged to have conspired to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice by deliberately ensuring Blazeofenchantment did not run on his merits.

Stewart Williams

Bradley and Bennett are alleged to have known of the conspiracy and used the inside information to gain an advantage on the betting markets.

Carter has changed his version of events on numerous occasions, and Weston believes just the fact the jockey was booked suggests Blazeofenchantment had less of a chance than the horse should have had on paper.

“If he (Wainwright) wished the horse to win you would expect him to jock up someone who would give it a good ride, but he did the opposite,” said Weston.

“Of all the jockeys in all the world he chose Carter. Why put an out-of-sorts jockey on a horse? No sensible owner or trainer would put up a jockey with all the problems he had.”

Those words drew an angry response from leading rider Robert Winston, who said: “Weston! The Barrister for the BHA. How dare he insult any trainer or owner’s decision to put up a young apprentice/jockey at a particular time whether the horse has a favourite’s chance or not.

“And to call him an out of sorts jockey? Well if that’s the case he should be on the licensing committee and don’t give an out of sorts jockey a license to ride. Just like Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan etc.

“So why is it the owner and trainer’s fault that they employed a jockey whose mental state was at breaking point?! The BHA license all jockeys, so it’s down to them to make sure that all their jockeys are fit and appropriate to do their job up to full standards.


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“Don’t spin it and blame the trainer or owner for someone else’s mental illness.”

Winston added; “John Wainwright is an honest man, a very hard working one at that. People have taken his kindness as weakness.

“And I hope the BHA do the right thing and don’t prey on situations like this. It has devastating effects on families and friends and also livelihoods and future careers.”

Trainer John Berry, considered one of the most thoughtful and intelligent in the game,is also furious with Weston.

He said: “I’ve just read that you wouldn’t put up an ‘out-of-sorts jockey’ ‘if you wished the horse to win’.

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“That really annoys me. This game is a venal one in which anywhere you turn you’ll find someone telling you that so-and-so can’t ride or can’t train etc, and that so-and-so is a genius simply because he’s been lucky enough to ride or train a few good horses, and that so-and-so is an idiot simply because he’s only riding or training for people who can’t afford particularly good horses.

“That a trainer doesn’t know what he’s doing because he’s only got a handful of moderate horses in his yard, or a jockey is an idiot because he doesn’t get many rides. This annoys me so much.

“I’m an underdog myself who works with only a small string of very inexpensive horses. As such, I’d always rather give the rides to jockeys who need them, rather than those who don’t.

“By and large, the main difference between the successful jockeys and the unsuccessful ones is the quality of the mounts they are given.

“To have the BHA barrister putting together a line of reason which says that if you use a fashionable jockey who is enjoying success then you are trying, but if you use someone who is struggling then you should be put under suspicion and you are probably not wanting to win, is disgraceful.”

Hard to disagree with Winston or Berry. As for the case, we await a verdict…

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