Jockey, trainer banned for 'fixing'
A jockey and his trainer were disqualified from horseracing for three years on Tuesday for fixing a race at Newcastle in August.
Jason Behan and trainer Eamon Tyrrell were found guilty by a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) disciplinary panel of not running Casela Park on its merits during a seven-furlong handicap race on August 4. The five-year-old, 17-2 shot was beaten by two lengths, but was full of running as it crossed the line in sixth.
"It was running on well in the last 50 yards (despite an absence of any driving or encouragement) ... But for its treatment by Behan, it would have won," the panel said in a summary of the case, published on September 27 before it retired to consider the sanction.
Behan and Tyrrell's disqualification period began on Wednesday, although both are seeking legal advice.
"I've been in touch with my solicitor and it's under judicial review," Tyrrell said. "It's astonishing."
Casela Park, whose only race since its controversial run in Newcastle came at Musselburgh two days later, was suspended from running for six weeks, starting the same day.
Behan and Tyrrell could potentially have been banned from racing for up to five years.
Following a hearing on September 22, at which neither of the Irish-based pair were legally represented, the disciplinary panel concluded Behan's ride amounted to "deliberately preventing a horse from winning".
"The gelding was subjected to strong and persistent epi-sodes of restraint in the last two-and-a-half furlongs, and was manoeuvred several times away from gaps and back behind other runners," the panel's summary said.
The penalty for the offence has an entry point of 18 months but the panel felt that was too low for a "fundamental breach of the rules".
The BHA said there were three aggravating features in the case - the nature of the ride, what it claimed was "the dishonesty of the ride" and the untruthful accounts given by Tyrrell and Behan to stewards and the panel.
Behan had told stewards that Casela Park had been a "very difficult ride" who refused to keep straight when asked for an effort. The jockey said he'd also been "afraid of clipping heels" toward the end of the race.