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Panorama
Security chief makes corruption claims
The sport of horseracing is "institutionally corrupt", according to the former head of security at the Jockey Club.

Roger Buffham, who held the post for nine years, spoke to BBC Panorama about the lack of "moral courage and resolve" to deal with the problems within the racing industry.

The programme, to be shown on BBC One at 2215 BST on Sunday, 5 October, says it has uncovered more than a decade of corruption within the sport, including Mr Buffham's claim that a "whole generation of national hunt jockeys had close links with organised crime."

He alleges that wanted drug smuggler Brian Brendan Wright infiltrated the sport to such a degree that he paid jockeys for information, doped horses and fixed races on a regular basis in the 1990s.

Evidence

Christopher Foster
'When there is evidence we act' - Christopher Foster
The Jockey Club, however, insists it has done nothing wrong in its dealings with the sport and any alleged misconduct.

Christopher Foster, executive director of the Jockey Club, said: "I don't think that any of the evidence that you have produced shows there's anything that anyone need feel guilty about.

"We act when there's evidence. I don't recall any situation where evidence was available to us where we did not take action."

The programme claims that Wright, currently the subject of an international arrest warrant and living in northern Cyprus, was known to the Jockey Club back in 1985.

He has long links with former jockey Graham Bradley, who gave the extent of Brian Wright's involvement in the sport away during a criminal trial in which he was giving evidence for the defence.

Doping horses

Bradley told the jury that he received free nights out and envelopes with cash in it in exchange for giving Brian Wright "very privileged information".

But when interviewed by Panorama, he claimed that his comments in the trial had covered "a very broad spectrum."

Former jockey and self confessed horse doper Dermot Browne, who has been banned from racing for selling information to a bookie, also pointed the finger at Brian Wright, saying it was him he used to dope horses for.

He claims to have doped 27 horses, over the course of a few months back in 1990. He has been banned from racing for selling information to a bookmaker, but claims he tried to warn them about Brian Wright's activities in 1992.

Browne got in contact with the Jockey Club via a journalist and tried to set up a meeting so he could spill the beans about the doping. They weren't interested.

Backbone

Dermot Browne
Dermot Browne says he tried to warn the Jockey Club
He finally spoke to the Jockey Club in 2000, and they concluded that he had been telling the truth. Asked if that decision was a mistake, Christopher Foster, said: "With 20/20 hindsight it might be."

The programme also features Roger Buffham's successor Jeremy Phipps, who was secretly filmed by Panorama making a series of disparaging comments about the Jockey Club.

The former SAS man's comments came during a meeting with Buffham in London earlier in the year.

In the meeting Phipps questioned the backbone of the organisation to regulate the sport and was filmed describing Jockey Club members as "ignorant" and calling the licensing system "crap".

He also admitted that the evidence Graham Bradley gave in the criminal trial was "dynamite", before asking why the Jockey Club had never done anything about it before.

Bit of fluff

We believe there is a perfectly rational explanation for how Jeremy came to say these things

Christopher Foster, executive director of the Jockey Club

The security chief was even more surprised when a transcript of the conversation was brought out during a taped interview with Panorama reporter Andy Davies.

Mr Phipps denied ever making the comments, before being ushered away by the Jockey Club's PR director John Maxse and reminded that the reason he said those things was to try and coax Roger Buffham into revealing what he was doing.

Mr Foster said he considered the tapes to be "just a bit of fluff", adding, "At face value they are potentially damaging comments but we believe there is a perfectly rational explanation for how Jeremy came to say these things."

The final allegation is that leading bookmaker Victor Chandler used to offer "no lose" betting accounts to trainers in the mid 1990s, to try and gain inside information about horses.

Disproportionate

If the account shows a loss at the end of the season, I will clear this

Letter from Victor Chandler to trainer
One letter, obtained by Panorama, said: "I will arrange an account be opened for you and will place a 500 wager on any of your runners you select, these will be settled at the best price available, if the account shows a loss at the end of the season, I will clear this."

This, according to Panorama, means that the trainer's bet or lack of one, gives the bookie a tip off about the horse's chances.

Victor Chandler refused to be interviewed for the programme. In fact he tried, and failed, to take out a High Court injunction to stop them being used.

But Mr Foster said to take action against Chandler would have been "a disproportionate use of that power".

"What he was doing was not an offence under any betting regulation, and was not an offence under the rules of racing. We have subsequently taken action to make it an offence under the rules of racing."

Criticism

Roger Buffham
Roger Buffham was a key witness
The Jockey Club has however, questioned the impartiality of the programme. Public relations director John Maxse, said: "It's astonishing that the BBC omit to inform viewers vital and relevant facts about their two principal witnesses.

"They say nothing about the circumstances under which Roger Buffham left the Jockey Club. He left after an investigation into allegations of gross misconduct."

He also criticised Panorama for failing to point out that Dermot Browne was serving a ten-year ban imposed by the Jockey Club.

"Omissions of that magnitude are to me an indication of the bias of the programme," he added.

Mr Foster, added: ""I am concerned about the impact of the programme. I imagine there will be some negative criticism of the Jockey Club ahead in the short-term.

"But in the long-term, I don't think this will do any damage to the integrity of racing."


The Investigation

The Court cases

Profiles

The Jockey Club




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