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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 12:18 GMT
The man who loves to gamble
By Chris Summers
BBC News

If Miles Rodgers had been a master criminal you might have expected him to keep a low profile. The Mr Bigs of the underworld do not tend to court publicity.

MILES RODGERS
Miles Rodgers
Born in 1969
Owned businesses, including a restaurant and pub, in South Yorkshire
A prolific gambler, his total liabilities on Betfair between January 2002 and August 2004 were 11m
He launched the Platinum Racing Club syndicate but was "warned off" by the Jockey Club in March 2004
Went on trial at the Old Bailey in October 2007 but has now been acquitted of all charges
But Miles Rodgers was a high profile racehorse owner and gambler, who was well known in racing circles.

The loquacious Mr Rodgers has always been happy to talk to reporters and at the start of the trial his barrister, Peter Kelson QC, read out excerpts from several newspaper articles which featured quotes from him.

In March 2004 - when the alleged conspiracy was at its height - Mr Rodgers was "emblazoned" across the national press "boasting" about his "vast array of contacts" in the sport.

Mr Rodgers also had his own website on which he extolled his own abilities as a tipster.

Mr Kelson said: "During the period covered by this indictment Mr Rodgers was subject to a Jockey Club investigation, he was subjected to very extensive publicity, had been warned off and ran this website which boasted of his betting activities.

Miles Rodgers' home in Silkstone
Mr Rodgers lives in a large house overlooking the Pennines

"This isn't a criminal conspirator trying to get under the radar. This is the conduct of a man going about his legal business as a gambler and tipster."

Mr Rodgers has long been a thorn in the side of the racing authorities.

Online gambler

A gambler since his teenage years, Mr Rodgers has had a long love affair with the "sport of kings" and at one time owned a number of horses through his Platinum Racing Club syndicate.

He had switched his gambling from high street bookmakers to the internet betting exchange Betfair.

Between January 2002 and August 2004 he bet on 6,043 races and his total liabilities - the money he stood to lose if all his bets failed - was 11m.

But Mr Rodgers also bet on a wide range of other sports, including cricket, football, tennis, boxing, athletics and American football.

He also had the occasional bet on the outcome of TV shows like Pop Idol and Big Brother.

There were chuckles in court when Mr Kelson added: "He even bet on Eurovision, 6. He managed to keep a grip of himself on that one."

His Betfair account was suspended on 30 December 2002 after one of Platinum's horses, Legal Set, lost a race at Lingfield. But after Betfair carried out some inquiries the account was reopened four days later.

Miles Rodgers leaves Bishopsgate police station
A lot of people think the only way you can be successful in racing is through cheating and skulduggery. I've done neither of those
Miles Rodgers

But Betfair and the racing authorities continued to monitor Mr Rodgers and in March 2004 he was "warned off" for two years by the Jockey Club, meaning he was effectively banned from all racecourses and forbidden from contacting jockeys or trainers.

He had been found guilty of having "lay" bets on two of his own horses to lose.

The Jockey Club's rule 247 bans owners, trainers and stable staff from laying their own horses with betting organisations.

Uhoomagoo finished 12th out of 16 in a handicap at Redcar after drifting from 5.6-1 to 19.5 on Betfair. Million Percent, a 6-1 chance, was eighth of nine in a handicap at Wolverhampton.

'Scapegoat'

Mr Rodgers denied any wrongdoing and said he had been made a scapegoat by the racing authorities.

He said at the time: "A lot of people think the only way you can be successful in racing is through cheating and skulduggery. I've done neither of those."

In July 2004 Mr Rodgers told racing journalists he planned to launch a private tipping service which would charge 3,950 a year in return for "information you have previously only dreamt about".

On his website, Mr Rodgers said: "If you are worried about the effect the recent adverse publicity may have had on my contacts let me reassure you that I have spoken to them and they are all more than happy to continue our prosperous relationship.

"I have only been disqualified for telling someone to lay one of my own horses. Nothing illegal, no cheating, just good judgement."

Yorkshire accent

Jurors could get a flavour of Mr Rodgers's personality by listening to excerpts from bugged conversations.

His words, delivered in a broad South Yorkshire accent strewn with expletives, epitomised the cliche "larger than life character".

The Tiamo restaurant in Penistone
Police bugged the restaurant of Mr Rodgers' restaurant in Penistone

In the summer of 2004 police obtained permission to bug his car, his business and the car park of an Italian restaurant he owned in Penistone, near Sheffield.

But despite being monitored for 350 hours Mr Rodgers said very little that could be seen as incriminating.

The prosecution made much of garbled snippets - only Mr Rodgers's end of the conversation was recorded - such as "little Fergal's coming to play today" on "all three", which the Crown claimed referred to jockey Fergal Lynch agreeing to lose three races.

But the defence pointed out the danger of taking a phrase out of context when the rest of the conversation was inaudible.

After being cleared, Mr Rodgers left court and hugged his partner.

Asked what he planned to do next he said: "I want to get back to a normal life and go and back a few winners."



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