1. On 29 April 2013, the Disciplinary Panel of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) began an enquiry into allegations of involvement in corruption. In the event, the hearing of the contested issues lasted 3 days.
2. The allegations made by the BHA fell into three largely self-contained sections. In the first, it was alleged that Neil Clement, a registered owner, and Eddie Ahern, a licensed jockey, were engaged in a conspiracy to commit corrupt practices by the use of inside information supplied by Ahern to support the lay betting carried out by Mr Clement. These allegations were made about five Ahern rides that occurred between 10 September 2010 and 11 February 2011. Details are given in the ‘Table of Races’ annexed to these Reasons. The second batch of allegations arose out of the last of the races referred to in the ’Table of Races’ – STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) at Lingfield on 9 March 2011. In this instance, Mr Clement, Mr James Clutterbuck, Mr Martin Raymond, Mr Paul Hill and Mr Michael Turl were alleged to be engaged in a corrupt practice to exploit inside information from Mr Clutterbuck (the assistant trainer of the horse) by lay betting. The final set of allegations was put against Mr Clement alone. He was alleged to have had a lay bet against a horse which he owned, HINDU KUSH (IRE), on 2 February 2011. He was also charged with breach of Rule (A)50.2 through his non-cooperation with this enquiry. In particular, he was alleged to have failed to provide telephone records, failed to agree a time and a place for interview, and failed to attend an interview with the BHA.
3. On 22 April 2013, a preliminary hearing took place to deal with the case against Mr Turl. He admitted the breach alleged against him. He supplied a basis of plea document describing his part in the allegation he faced. The Panel dealt with the matter on that day, and imposed a penalty of a 2 year disqualification together with a £10,000 fine. The way in which his case was disposed of was described in reasons published to Mr Turl and the other parties to this enquiry, which are published separately.
4. On 29 April 2013, at the outset of the enquiry hearing, Mr Clutterbuck admitted that he was in breach of the Rules of Racing as alleged, and he too supplied a basis of plea document describing his role. Again, the Panel dealt with his case, imposed a 30 month disqualification and supplied reasons for the decision which were supplied to Mr Clutterbuck and the other parties. These reasons are published separately.
5. Again at the outset of the enquiry, the Panel was informed by Kristina Montgomery QC acting for Mr Clement that he too admitted some of the allegations against him. He admitted his part in the conspiracy alleged by the BHA over the STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) race. He admitted the lay bet against his horse, HINDU KUSH (IRE). He admitted that his failure to supply phone records and attend interviews was a breach of his obligations under the Rules of Racing as charged. On 1 May 2013, the third day of the enquiry, the PPanel imposed a disqualification to take effect immediately on Mr Clement for a period and for reasons to be given when the remaining live issues in the enquiry were decided. The Panel took the view that this course was permitted by Rule (A)58.
6. The remaining live issues that were contested at the enquiry were therefore: –
(i) whether Mr Clement and Ahern were engaged in a conspiracy to commit corrupt practices in relation to the first 5 races identified in the ’Table of Races’, and whether Ahern was in breach of Rule (A)36.1.
(ii) Whether Mr Raymond and Mr Hill were engaged in a conspiracy to commit a corrupt practice in relation to the STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) race.
Mr Neil Clement
7. When considering the live issues remaining in relation to Mr Clement, the Panel had to do this against the backdrop of his admitted breaches. Some of those admitted breaches involved dishonest behaviour on his part – consisting of a small lay bet against a horse which he owned, and more importantly of his involvement in corrupt lay betting against STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) in league with Mr Clutterbuck and Mr Turl.
8. The remaining contested allegations concerned the alleged receipt of inside information from Ahern in relation to five of his rides between September 2010 and January 2011. However, as already noted, Mr Clement filed no defence to the BHA’s allegations. And as he refused to be interviewed by BHA Investigators, as well as failing to appear at this hearing, the Panel had nothing positive from him to evaluate along with the BHA’s evidence. Although he instructed leading counsel to appear on his behalf at the hearing, she was effectively left trying to build bricks without straw in his absence, and did not advance any positive material to contradict the BHA’s evidence. Nevertheless, she correctly emphasised that the burden remained with the BHA to satisfy the Panel that Mr Clement was in breach of Rule (A)41.2 in relation to the five Ahern rides, and submitted that the legitimate inferences that could be drawn from the BHA’s evidence did not justify an adverse finding.
9. It was not appropriate to assume breach on Mr Clement’s part simply because he had been involved in the admitted conspiracy for STONEACRE GARETH (IRE). His co-conspirators in that instance were not alleged to have been involved with the other five races, where Ahern alone was alleged to be involved with him. So it was necessary to assess the other possible explanations for Mr Clement’s lay betting against the Ahern mounts, which were canvassed by Ahern in his own defence. Those other possibilities were, in summary, firstly that Mr Clement was simply following his own inclinations in placing those lay bets without the benefit of any inside information from Ahern, and secondly that if Ahern did provide inside information to Mr Clement, this was inadvertent and secretly exploited by Mr Clement (i.e. without Ahern knowing).
10. As appears in the Panel’s analysis of the case against Ahern, it was concluded that Ahern was passing inside information to Mr Clement and that Mr Clement was using this for his lay betting in the five races in question. They were involved in a conspiracy together in relation to these rides and both were in breach of Rule (A)41.2.
11. Ahern is an experienced and capable flat jockey, currently aged 35. At the time of the events in question in this enquiry, he had been riding regularly for over 12 seasons in this country.
12. When considering the serious allegations he faced, the Panel was particularly conscious of the need for reliable evidence to justify any findings adverse to him. That was in part because of the standard of proof that the Rules require and in part also because Ahern co-operated with the BHA Investigators. He readily provided his telephone records and attended interviews. He has had a career without any comparable problems or Rule breaches. His previously good character and cooperation with BHA Investigators emphasised to the Panel the ’common sense’ need for cogent evidence to prove the BHA’s case.
13. That said, there was little if any dispute about primary facts. The betting activities of Mr Clement were a matter of record. No challenge was made to the accuracy of the records, and it was not suggested, for instance, that bets recorded on various accounts which the BHA linked to Mr Clement were somebody else’s. The evidence of telephone and other contact between Mr Clement and Ahern was likewise mostly common ground. The Panel’s task was to determine whether the inference of a corrupt conspiracy between Mr Clement and Ahern was a legitimate one.
14. So far as the allegation of breach of Rule (B)59.2 was concerned, the Panel was equally conscious of the need not to find that Ahern deliberately rode to lose on JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA), unless persuaded that there was cogent evidence to make that conclusion probable.
15. Ahern described his relationship with Mr Clement as follows. He was introduced to him about 8 years ago and they soon became friends. He would leave racecourse tickets for Mr Clement and his family, and he got to know Mr Clement’s wife and children. They would go out to meals together and even went on holiday to Dubai on one occasion. Mr Clement was a professional footballer at the time, who owned horses and racing was his main interest besides football. He said that he was close to Mr Clement, and told him things he would not tell others about his personal life. They shared confidences. Mr Clement stayed at Ahern’s house from time to time. He was aware that Mr Clement liked to bet and that gambling was affecting his family, at least after Mr Clement was forced to retire from football following a career-ending injury in about January 2010.
16. Ahern and Mr Clement were in regular phone contact over the period of the events with which this enquiry is concerned. Over the seven-month period until the end of February 2011, there was a total of 265 calls or texts from Ahern to Mr Clement, and Mr Clement himself called or texted Ahern 163 times in the year up to November 2011. They also met frequently. Ahern would, for instance, ride work on horses owned by Mr Clement.
17. Ahern was adamant that, over the years, he had very few conversations with Mr Clement about racing. He said that he had a good understanding of what inside information was. He had attended seminars for jockeys about it. He fully appreciated the seriousness of wrongfully giving it out. He said that he would sometimes discuss his rides with Mr Clement but would never give too much away. He would answer general queries about his forthcoming rides and which the best might be with general answers along the lines of “X has a favourite’s chance in the last”.
18. When that portrait of the relationship is compared with Mr Clement’s lay betting and Ahern’s rides that are the subject of this enquiry, serious doubts about the reliability of Ahern’s account of the relationship immediately emerged. Three accounts with which Mr Clement was linked were relevant.
(i) A Betfair account (in his wife’s name) was active only between 15 January and 26 February 2011. A total of 515 bets were placed, the vast majority being bets in-running. Of the 116 pre-race bets, just 16 were lay bets, and 9 of these 16 risked a liability greater than £1000. Four of those 9 lay bets were on horses ridden by Ahern, and all were successful – JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA), FRENCH ART, and DOWNHILL SKIER in both the win and place markets. For DOWNHILL SKIER (IRE), the price in the place market was chased out from 2.86 to 4.0.
(ii) Mr Clement also had a Betdaq account of longer standing. It was used between February 2009 and January 2012. Up to the end of June 2010, there were just 12 lay bets on British horseracing. These risked an average of £104 with the largest being a risk of £500. The behaviour on the account then changed markedly. Much larger lay liabilities were taken from July 2010. There were 27 lay bets thereafter that risked £1000 or more, and of these 12 bets risked more than £5000. Two were ridden by Ahern – FRENCH ART and SISINDU (IRE). For FRENCH ART on 10 February 2011, the account was primed with £40000 the evening before. £20057 was risked in lay bets to win £4290. (There were further lays placed by Mr Clement through the Betfair account, risking £2410 to win £700). The price was chased out from 4.3 to 6.4 in the Betdaq account. For SISINDU (IRE), £9340 was the liability risked for a profit of £2000.
(iii) Thirdly, Mr Clement had a spread betting account with Star Spreads that was active between 1 November 2010 and 7 February 2011. There were just 11 bets on UK horseracing and two of these were the equivalent of lay bets against LOVE YOU LOUIS and JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA). The second of these appeared particularly significant. Mr Clement risked a maximum loss of £41,500 to win, in the event, £8500. That bet was 5 times larger in unit stake terms than any other risk on the account. It was the largest liability ever risked by the account, and indeed was greater than the combined liability on the account of its other 10 bets. It is to be noted that the Star Spreads facility used by Mr Clement was akin to a combined lay of the gelding in both win and place markets. This is because Star Spreads operated a points structure by which the first placed horse scores 50 points, the 2nd placed scores 25 points and the 3rd placed scores 10 points. They then offer a buy and sell price for each runner, so that gamblers can back or oppose a horse as they wish. Mr Clement’s bet was a sell of JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) at 8.5 points for a unit stake of £1000. Hence the bet risked different losses depending upon whether the gelding finished first, second or third.
19. There is thus a wealth of evidence which indicates that Mr Clement’s lay bets against the five Ahern rides at issue in this enquiry were inspired by information from Ahern. His betting demonstrated a preference for laying Ahern rides. The risks which he was prepared to run on such bets was higher than was usually found in the accounts he operated. He was prepared to chase the odds out for DOWNHILL SKIER (IRE) and FRENCH ART. The betting followed contacts between Ahern and Mr Clement on or before races, as the timelines put before the Panel generally demonstrated. The case of LOVE YOU LOUIS provides a striking example. There was a long contact between Ahern and Mr Clement that was promptly followed by a call from Mr Clement to place the lay bet against LOVE YOU LOUIS. In the case of JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA), however, there were no phone contacts found on the day of the race, but Ahern admitted that he and Mr Clement had met on the day before. The sheer size of the bets in the case of JUDGETHEMOMENT indicated a confidence in the outcome that is seen to have been justified by what happened in the race, where Ahern deliberately took steps to ensure that the gelding did not run on its merits. The Panel was left in no doubt that Mr Clement knew that the gelding would be ridden to lose.
20. Those matters dispose comprehensively of the argument that Mr Clement’s lay betting against these Ahern rides was coincidence rather than a connected event. To support that argument in closing submissions, it was said on behalf of both Mr Clement and Ahern that the Panel should have in mind what an erratic gambler Mr Clement was. He was variously described as a “smack head gambler”, a madcap, a gambling compulsive. He may have had a gambling addiction, but the Panel had no evidence from him on this. But he does not come across on the evidence available as quite the wild figure that some portrayed him to be. His Betdaq account, for instance, which was the longest in operation of the three considered above, showed an overall profit both on lay and back betting. He was said to pester people for information – that was the evidence of Mr Raymond, though not of Ahern – but again the picture emerging from the timelines shows a propensity for others to initiate contact with Mr Clement on any given day rather than for him to be on the hunt for information from the outset. So for these additional reasons, the Panel’s conclusion that the Ahern lay bets were inspired by information from Ahern was untouched.
21. That left the possibility, advocated on Ahern’s behalf, that Mr Clement was placing the lay bets against Ahern’s rides on the basis of information from the jockey, but that he kept this secret from Ahern. The Panel found that to be equally improbable. The starting point for this analysis is that, contrary to his evidence, Ahern was supplying inside information about the rides in question to Mr Clement. The notion that he was unwittingly supplying inside information which was then secretly used by Mr Clement is really contradicted by the conclusions already reached. Additionally, perhaps to give colour to his argument, Ahern told the Panel that he had had a conversation with Mr Clement at an unidentified time in which he had asked him whether he was engaging in lay betting against his (Ahern’s) rides, and was told that this was not happening. He said this occurred in the course of a discussion about Mr Clement’s Betfair account. Aside from the inherent improbability of this evidence, the Panel was struck by the fact that Ahern has at no stage expressed any anger about being supposedly tricked by Mr Clement, and has (according to him) taken no steps to contact Mr Clement to challenge him about such deceitful behaviour. In fact, he gave inconsistent evidence about his contacts with Mr Clement. In interview, he said he had not made contact. At the hearing of the enquiry, he said that he had made contact, but simply to ask him whether he was coming to the enquiry. The Panel rejected Ahern’s evidence generally about the supposed discussion of the lay betting. It was satisfied that Ahern was fully aware of and in league with Mr Clement over this lay betting. Once again, the findings made in relation to the JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) race are a complete contradiction of Ahern’s case.
22. In summary, therefore, the Panel concluded that Ahern and Mr Clement were complicit in the lay betting against Ahern rides organised by Mr Clement on the basis of inside information supplied by Ahern. While it has not been possible to identify exactly what that inside information was in 4 of the 5 cases, it was clear to the Panel that Ahern had information to supply because he had ridden the horses before. In the case of JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA), it was clear to the Panel that the inside information consisted of an indication that Ahern would ride to lose. Although Ahern denied receipt of money or some other reward for his part, the Panel rejected that evidence too. Again, the case of JUDGETHEMOMENT was a clinching reason for this. It was inconceivable to the Panel that he was not taking reward when riding to lose in that way.
23. Ahern was therefore in breach of Rule (A)41.2 and Rule (A)36.2.
Ahern and JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA)’s race on 21 January 2011
24. JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) was, at the time of the Lingfield race, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam. Its best racing days were behind it. It had won over 2 1/2 miles at Royal Ascot in June 2009, but thereafter did not win again. Indeed, throughout 2010 it finished last or near last in all but one of its five races. Ahern rode it at Kempton on 30 December 2010, when it started as 3/1 favourite but finished last. On that occasion, the trainer reported that “the gelding curls up when crowded by other horses”. After the race when unsaddling, Ahern recommended to Chapple-Hyam that she try the gelding next time in blinkers, and she agreed.
25. As anticipated, Ahern was booked to ride the gelding in its next race at Lingfield on 21 January 2011. This was again a 2 mile handicap, for which the gelding started at 12/1, having opened at 8/1. JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) led from the start. The comments in-running from the Racing Post gave this summary of the performance – “Led and soon spreadeagled field, came back from halfway, headed and weakened rapidly over 4f out”.
26. The BHA’s case was that Ahern deliberately rode at an inappropriately high pace, which inevitably led to the gelding tiring early and finishing out of the places. To support this analysis, there was produced an exercise compiled by Mr Tom Chignell, Principal Betting Investigator of the BHA, the factual detail of which was unchallenged. This was a comparison of JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA)’s performance over the first 6 furlongs of the race with performances in 32 other two mile races at Lingfield.
27. The essence of Ahern’s response was that he had ridden, in the words of his counsel Jonathan Harvie QC in closing submissions, “an ill-judged race”. He denied that he had engaged in a deliberate attempt to destroy the gelding’s chances by going off too fast. In addition to his own evidence, Ahern called Wally Swinburn as an expert. He suggested that the gelding’s high pace over the early part of the race may have been the result of running for the first time in blinkers, and being “lit up” in consequence.
28. Having considered all the evidence and submissions, the Panel felt driven to the conclusion that Ahern had deliberately set a pace that was designed to hurt JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA)’s chances in the race, and that he was in breach of Rule (B)58.1 in the way described in Rule (B)59.2.
29. A number of reasons lay behind this decision.
30. Firstly, Ahern gave evidence about his riding instructions that the Panel rejected. There was a dispute between Ahern and Chapple-Hyam about whether the jockey was told when unsaddling after the Kempton race that he should go a bit quicker in the next race. She was adamant that she did not – she said that she would not talk tempo for the next time right after the race at Kempton. The Panel found her evidence in this regard much more convincing than Ahern’s. When he came to give evidence, the time at which he asserted that the “go quicker” instruction had been given was put differently than it had been to Chapple-Hyam. He suggested, rather vaguely and uncertainly, that it may have been relayed to him in a telephone call from either Chapple-Hyam or Paul Howling (Chapple-Hyam’s assistant) at some time before the Lingfield race. The Panel rejected that. She gave a clear account of providing instructions to Ahern by telephone before the race, as she was going to be travelling to Australia at the time of the race. She told him he could lead and confirmed that the gelding would be wearing blinkers as he had recommended. She again rejected the notion that she told Ahern to make a faster pace than he had at Kempton. As she said, talking about speed didn’t come into it – that’s why she had booked a professional jockey. Chapple-Hyam was a much more impressive witness than Ahern, and her version was preferred. Quite apart from that, Ahern’s basic case that he misjudged the pace and went faster than he should have contradicted the notion that he went as fast as he did because of instructions.
31. Secondly, the race itself presented a remarkable sight in the recordings shown to the Panel. JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) dwelt fractionally when the stalls opened, but within 100 yards had reached the front and was running against the inside rail, having been actively pushed into that position by Ahern. Thereafter, Ahern let the gelding continue at high pace, which looked to the Panel to be what one would expect in a 6 or 7 furlong race. Much the same impression was made on Chapple-Hyam when she first saw a recording of the race shortly after it took place. She said she was furious when she saw how Ahern had ridden the horse like a 5 furlong horse. Within one furlong after the start, JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) was 5 lengths up on the chasing pair who were in turn over 3 lengths ahead of the remaining group of 4 horses. Three furlongs after the start, JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) was 10 lengths ahead of the chasing pair, who were themselves 6 to 8 lengths ahead of the remaining runners. At no stage did Ahern do anything to check the pace of JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA). The gelding remained 10 lengths ahead of its nearest pursuer when reaching the one furlong marker on its first circuit, with further gaps of 3 lengths and 5 lengths to the next horses in line. Going into the bend for the second circuit, however, JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) began to slow and the gaps to the other runners began to reduce rapidly. The nearest pursuer (the eventual winner) reached a length and a half down before the end of that bend, and was able to slow and maintain that position down the back straight. As JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA)’s pace had slowed so much, the remaining runners took much closer order. They all went quickly past JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) about 4 furlongs from the finish, and the gelding was eventually beaten into last by a total of 35 lengths.
32. Importantly, the impression gained from simply watching the recordings was reinforced by sectional times analysis provided by Mr Chignell. He analysed 32 two mile flat races on the all-weather track at Lingfield occurring between the beginning of 2010 and 10 August 2012 (when the track was relaid). The calculation of sectional times for the first 6 furlongs of each of these 32 races which he prepared from the recordings of the races was not challenged. Nor were any special features of those races identified to explain why they might be different from the present case. The analysis showed that JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) was faster by 2.56 seconds than any other leader at that 6 furlong point in any of the other races. Converting that into lengths or yards is an approximate exercise, but given the times for those first 6 furlongs, it is between 25 to 45 yards ahead of the next quickest runner in those 32 races. Mr Chignell’s figures in lengths were 10 to 15. He also gave evidence that JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) was roughly 39 lengths faster than the median time through 6 furlongs. These figures demonstrate that this was not a case of JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) making a strong but sensible pace while the remainder of the field dawdled behind.
33. Ahern’s explanation for the ride was that he misjudged the pace, did not realise he was so far ahead and that, in summary, he had ridden a “terrible” race, as he said in interview. In closing submissions, his counsel characterised it as an ill-judged race.
34. Quite simply, the Panel could not accept that a jockey of Ahern’s experience, especially on the all-weather at Lingfield, could have made an error of such an extent. It was not accepted that he was unaware of how far ahead he was – he took a look behind when he was passing the 4 furlong marker for the first time, at which point he was already more than 10 lengths clear.
35. The evidence from Wally Swinburn was of no real assistance to the Panel. A document containing the evidence he proposed to give was only provided at the very last minute. Called to give evidence as an expert, he ought to have been providing an independent minded view of the ride. But, through no fault of his own, he seemed to regard his task as finding points helpful to Ahern. He had looked only at one recording of the race, on the Racing Post website. He was unaware of the trainer’s instructions, though he at once conceded that that was an important ingredient. He had negligible familiarity with Lingfield and its demands upon jockeys. His suggestion that JUDGETHEMOMENT may have been “lit up” by the use of blinkers for the first time was not borne out by close observation of the recordings shown to the Panel. There was no hint of JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) running free or keen. The gelding quickly attained a high cruising pace and was balanced throughout, receiving no restraint from Ahern. Revealingly, Ahern never suggested during his interviews that the fast pace was set because JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) had been set alight by the wearing of first-time blinkers. He sought to do so in evidence before the Panel, but this was unpersuasive. He was trying to latch onto Mr Swinburn’s suggestion, even though it ran counter to the base argument he put forward about the high pace being a misjudgement on his part rather than being because the gelding ran too free.
36. The Panel’s conclusion about Ahern’s true intentions when riding the gelding were powerfully reinforced by the fact that his close friend Mr Clement had had a lay bet of such exceptional size against JUDGETHEMOMENT (USA) either winning or finishing second or third in a seven runner race. As already recounted, the Panel simply could not conclude that Ahern’s “terrible” ride and his friend’s large lay bet were innocent, unconnected events.
37. STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) was a 7 year old gelding at the time of the race in question. It was owned by James Mr Clutterbuck’s father, to whom he was acting as assistant trainer. After a 30 month break from racing, the gelding ran twice on 24 February and 3 March 2011 at Kempton and Wolverhampton respectively, winning both races.
38. After the Wolverhampton race, and prior to the Lingfield engagement on 9 March 2011 with which this enquiry was primarily concerned, STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) was left in a field for a couple of days to “get all the gunk out of him” according to Mr Clutterbuck, as he had a bleeding problem. He was not seen by a veterinary surgeon. Mr Clutterbuck said that the horse may have been treated with antibiotics to try to heal his lungs, but no treatment was recorded in the Medication Book.
39. STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) went off as the 11/4 favourite at Lingfield but finished fourth of ten. The jockey was Adam Kirby, against whom no allegations of misconduct were made.
40. As explained at the beginning of these Reasons, Mr Clement, Mr Clutterbuck and Mr Turl each admitted breach of Rule (A)41.2 in respect of this race. Mr Clement has given no evidence and has never explained the basis for his admission, or the nature of the inside information which motivated his persuasion of Mr Turl to allow lay betting on the latter’s account. Mr Turl likewise did not disclose the nature of the inside information which he understood Mr Clement to have when he was persuaded to let Mr Clement use his Betfair account (and £40,000 of his money) to lay the gelding. The bet was of course successful and produced a profit of £8308. Mr Clutterbuck’s basis of plea is also coy about the inside information which he admits passing to Mr Clement. In the Panel’s view it may have been something to do with the gelding’s bleeding and airway problems.
41. The BHA’s case was that inside information was passed to Mr Raymond, either directly by Mr Clutterbuck or via Mr Clement. It was said that this happened at some time during the morning of the race, and that it caused Mr Raymond to switch from backing the gelding to laying it.
42. Mr Raymond’s riposte was twofold. He denied receiving any inside information. And he explained that his betting pattern in relation to the race followed a common path for him: his concern was to “green out” through appropriate back and lay bets, and that is exactly what he did in this case. Indeed, it was common ground that he stood to profit more if STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) had won the race than he in fact made as a result of the gelding’s defeat.
43. Mr Raymond is a professional gambler whose predominant interest has been in-running betting. Practically all of his gambling, he said, is horseracing related.
44. The Panel kept very much in mind when assessing the case against Mr Raymond that he had at all stages co-operated fully with the investigation, and that he had provided a detailed and thorough statement of his position in the Schedule (A)6 form. This was again, therefore, an instance where common sense called for persuasive evidence that Mr Raymond was engaged in wrongdoing.
45. Mr Raymond had known Mr Clutterbuck for about 8 or 10 years. Well before he became an assistant trainer, Mr Clutterbuck had tried his hand at in-running betting but was not successful. Mr Raymond said he formed the view that Mr Clutterbuck was not a good race reader. He freely accepted that he spoke from time to time with Mr Clutterbuck about his horses, but said that he did not receive inside information from him.
46. Similarly, Mr Raymond said that he had known Mr Clement for about 6 months or a year in March 2011. Mr Clement had become aware that Mr Raymond was a professional punter and arranged to shadow him to observe how Mr Raymond went about his in-running betting. His opinion of Mr Clement was that he was an unsuccessful gambler who could do wild things. He said that Mr Clement often used to pester him, and to drive him potty.
47. The Panel did not accept Mr Raymond’s characterisation of Mr Clement as somebody who used to pester him. It was noteworthy that the timeline for the STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) race showed that it was Mr Raymond who initiated contact with Mr Clement on one day, and that he called him frequently.
48. It seemed improbable to the Panel that inside information reached Mr Raymond on 8 March, the day before the race, because he placed back bets early on the morning of 9 March.It was not suggested that these bets were “seeding the market” – i.e. that Mr Raymond was trying to create a false perception of confidence about the gelding’s prospects in the minds of other Betfair gamblers. Mr Raymond’s last back bet before the start of the race was timed at 09:16 hours. His position at that point was that he had backed the gelding with a stake of £130 at a price of 3.11.
49. Did Mr Raymond receive some inside information thereafter, either directly from Mr Clutterbuck or via Mr Clement? The opportunity for this to happen did exist as there were both direct phone calls with Mr Clutterbuck and Mr Clement after the last of Mr Raymond’s back bets and before he began placing some lay bets. There was evidence tending both ways on this issue. The Panel was left in genuine doubt about whether Mr Raymond did receive any such information, essentially because a proper understanding of his betting shows that he was not influenced by anything he may have heard from them. Therefore, applying the appropriate standard of proof, the Panel finds that he did not receive inside information. It may well be that he had some generalised tip from them, but the Panel accepted that he did not rate their horseracing judgement and did not act upon it. Thus, the Panel concluded that he was not involved in the conspiracy that others have admitted and the case against him was not proved.
50. Mr Raymond’s betting for his own account after 09:16 hours was as follows. He placed a lay bet to win £150 at 3.45. He then took a slightly different form of risk, backing PATAVIUM PRINCE (IRE) in a match bet with STONEACRE GARETH (IRE). Next, about 20 minutes before the start, he had a further back bet on PATAVIUM PRINCE (IRE). There were then 3 bets in-running – firstly a lay of STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) to win £50 at a price of 6.2; then a back bet on STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) of £60 at a price of 40.0; then a back bet on PATAVIUM PRINCE (IRE) of £200 at a price of 1.60. The net effect of these bets was that Mr Raymond would have been better off if STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) had won, mainly because of what he described as the lucky price he got for his back bet on the gelding in-running. It was contended by the BHA that, as these in-running bets were a legitimate reaction to the way in which the race was developing, they should be discounted for the purpose of assessing what information Mr Raymond had to justify his pre-race gambling. The Panel did not feel that that was a fair approach. The overall pattern of his betting needed to be assessed. It was a pattern that was similar to that employed for the gelding’s two previous races at Wolverhampton and Kempton. (On the first of those occasions, Mr Raymond began his back betting when the best price available was about 7/1, having missed the earlier available 25/1. That indicated to the Panel that he was not an insider on that occasion, another pointer against his having been an insider on 9 March).
51. The Panel found it particularly significant that these bets by Mr Raymond were of a size that were not merely within his usual parameters, but at the smaller end of his scales of betting in both win and place markets. It was suggested to him by the BHA that he was simply exercising caution by betting within his normal parameters, so as not to attract the attention of Investigators. But as Mr Raymond himself said, he could have taken a substantially larger position against STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) and still remained within his usual betting parameters. This was a strong indicator that he was not acting upon or influenced by the information which persuaded Mr Clement, Mr Turl and Mr Clutterbuck to do what they did.
52. Accordingly, the Panel decided that the case against him under Rule (A)41.2 was not proved.
53. Mr Hill is a professional gambler and close associate of Mr Raymond. He too co-operated fully with the BHA investigation. He said that he met Mr Clement at about the same time as Mr Raymond did. He knew of Mr Clutterbuck but had no contacts with him generally and none on either 8 or 9 March 2011.
54. Mr Hill placed lay bets against STONEACRE GARETH (IRE) before the race, and exactly the same in-running bets as did Mr Raymond – they were both using the same software package to enable them to do this. He explained that he decided to lay the gelding on form: it was having its third run in 2 weeks, it was up 15lbs in the handicap and had won on its previous outing by three quarters of a length all out. Most interestingly of all, he said that when a horse is to be ridden by Adam Kirby, then that is one to keep a close eye on in the market. He had discussed his form judgement with Mr Raymond.
55. While there were phone contacts between Mr Clement and Mr Hill on both 8 and 9 March, which provided an opportunity in principle for Mr Hill to be provided with the inside information which prompted Mr Clement’s betting in this case, the Panel again concluded that this is unlikely to have happened. If it had, Mr Hill would surely have told his close associate Mr Raymond, but for reasons given above the Panel held that Mr Raymond did not have this information. That of itself is a sufficient reason to conclude that Mr Hill, like Mr Raymond, did not have that information.
56. Again, it was common ground that Mr Hill’s betting was well within his usual parameters. As with Mr Raymond, the Panel took this as a further indication that he was not acting upon the basis of the information that was used by those who were actually involved in a conspiracy to exploit it.
57. Accordingly, the Panel decided that the case against him under Rule (A)41.2 was not proved.
Notes to editors:
1. The Panel or the hearing was: Tim Charlton QC (Chair), Richard Gould, Celina Carter.