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Sunday, 6 October, 2002, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
Panorama exposes 'corruption of racing'
On Sunday, the BBC's Panorama programme lifted the lid on what it called "the corruption of racing".

A year in the making, the one-hour programme raised allegations of race-fixing, dubious betting networks and jockeys mixing with criminals.

At the heart of the allegations was Roger Buffham, the Jockey Club's former head of security turned whistleblower for the BBC.

After a series of cases in the High Court, the programme makers were given permission to use secret files that he had obtained during his time at the Jockey Club.

At the start of the one-hour special, Buffham said: "Racing is not as straight as the Jockey Club and others would ask the public to believe it is.

"I believe it's institutionally corrupt in some respects and the Jockey Club fall short to have the moral courage and resolve to deal with some of the problems."

We act when there's evidence
The Jockey Club's Christopher Foster to Panorama
The Jockey Club, however, insists it has done nothing wrong in its dealings with the sport and any alleged misconduct.

It also issued a statement on Saturday questioning Panorama's impartiality.

"It's astonishing that the BBC omit to inform viewers vital and relevant facts about their two principal witnesses," said Jockey Club public relations director John Maxse.

"They say nothing about the circumstances under which Roger Buffham left the Jockey Club.

"He left after an investigation into allegations of gross misconduct."

Maxse also criticised Panorama for failing to point out that another key interviewee, former jockey Dermot Browne, was serving a 10-year ban imposed by the Jockey Club.

  Panorama's major allegations
Race-fixing and doping by jockeys and criminals
Victor Chandler bookmakers had in the past offered free betting for leading trainers
Jockey Club accused of failing to police the sport
Flat jockeys linked with Hong Kong criminals

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

In the programme, Christopher Foster, executive director of the Jockey Club, told presenter Andy Davies: "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."

Panorama, with Buffham's guidance, made a series of allegations against the Jockey Club, jockeys, among them Graham Bradley, and bookmaker Victor Chandler.

Bradley is currently being investigated by the Jockey Club after admitting in court earlier this year to receiving cash in envelopes for passing on privileged information to Brian Wright, racing's infamous "Mr Fixit".

Browne, another ex-jockey, claims to have doped 27 horses during the 1990 season.

'No wrongdoing'

Victor Chandler, one of Britain's leading bookmaking firms, was accused in the programme of having opened betting accounts back in the 1990s for trainers in a bid to obtain extra information about races.

Davies, the interviewer and narrator, said: "If trainers did not bet [on a particular horse], then bookies knew not to back it."

Buffham described these activities as "very wrong", while Victor Chandler refuses to comment on the programme.

Foster, though, insisted there was no wrongdoing.

He says: "It was not an offence under any betting regulation and it was not an offence under the rules of racing.

"We have taken action to now make it an offence."

The fall-out

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