BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Other Sports: Horse Racing  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
Statistics
US Sport
Horse Racing
Snooker
Sailing
Cycling
Skiing
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Saturday, 5 October, 2002, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Three decades of scandal
Lester Piggott
Piggott was imprisoned in 1985 for tax evasion

Panorama's allegations of corruption in horse racing are just another twist in a long line of scandals which have blighted the sport.

Prison sentences, illegal betting coups, question marks over doping offences and cheating at race courses across Britain have all occurred over the last 30 years.


Seventies

One of the biggest-known betting scandals erupted on the August Bank Holiday in 1974 - the Gay Future coup.

Anthony Collins, a trainer based in Scotland, entered Gay Future in a meeting at Cartmel.

  Diary of scandal
1974: The Gay Future betting coup
1985: Lester Piggott imprisoned for tax fraud
1998: Three jockeys arrested for race-fixing and later cleared
June 2002: Trainers investigated after Kenyon Confronts
Sept 2002: Fresh allegations and question marks

Collins had also entered two other horses, Opera Cloak and Ankerwyke, in races at other courses.

A vast number of small bets were laid, backing Gay Future for a double with either of the other two horses.

Both Opera Cloak and Ankerwyke were pulled out of their races, the double now became a single and, hence, a lot of money was riding on Gay Future.

Soapy flakes were then rubbed into the legs of the Gay Future to give the impression the horse was sweating and keep on-track punters from backing it, holding its odds of 10-1.

The horse duly romped home in first and, following an investigation, Collins and an Irish building contractor Tony Murphy were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the bookmakers and fined.


Eighties

Racing's next major scandal, of a very different nature, centred on Lester Piggott.

The legendary flat racing jockey was jailed in 1985 for a year for failing to accurately declare tax on about 3.2m in earnings.

His imprisonment sent shockwaves through the sport, giving the sport's highest-earning jockeys a serious fright.


Nineties

At the start of 1998, the first large modern-day racing scandal erupted when Jamie Osborne, Dean Gallagher and Leighton Aspell were arrested over allegations of race-fixing.

The inquiry leading to the arrests was launched following positive dope tests on two horses beaten at short odds in jumps races during March 1997.

Avanti Express, trained by Charlie Egerton, failed a drug test after finishing seventh when second favourite at 5-4 in a novice hurdle at Exeter on 7 March.

The trio were all eventually cleared of the charges but the anti-corruption witch-hunt only briefly died down.


2002

In February of this year five stables were raided, including that of top trainer Martin Pipe, to take unannounced urine and blood samples for doping analysis.

The Jockey Club, which carried out the investigation, did not produce a single positive result from the test, backing up their claims that the sport was clean.

Graham Bradley
Bradley admitted taking money
But trainers Osborne, Ferdy Murphy and David Wintle are currently under investigation by the Jockey Club.

It follows revelations aired last June in Kenyon Confronts, an undercover BBC programme looking into alleged race-fixing.

In the programme, Osborne was approached by people purporting to be considering buying a horse from him.

He was quoted as saying he was prepared to "cheat" and that he knew an in-house jockey who could be used to that effect.

Jockey Graham Bradley, meanwhile, is another in hot water.

He admitted in court that he received cash in envelopes for passing on privileged information to Brian Wright, racing's infamous "Mr Fixit".


The fall-out

Expert reaction

Background

Have your say
Links to more Horse Racing stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Horse Racing stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales