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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK
Fallon bailed in fixing probe
KIEREN FALLON FACTFILE
Fallon is currently leading the jockey's championship
Date of birth: 22 Feb 1965
Place of birth: Ireland
Champion jockey: Six times (1997-1999, 2001-2003)
English Classic wins: 10
(All except St Leger)
Champion jockey Kieren Fallon has been released on police bail after being questioned in a probe into the alleged fixing of horse races.

He was among 16 people, including two other jockeys and a racehorse trainer, arrested in dawn raids across England on Wednesday.

All those arrested had been released on bail by Thursday morning.

The other two jockeys are Darren Williams and Fergal Lynch while trainer Karl Burke was also arrested.

The investigation, headed by City of London Police, centres on the suspicion of corruption within racing and fixing the outcome of horse races.

It is understood that the allegations of conspiracy to defraud involve more than 80 races over the last two years.

City of London Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Bowron said: "This case is of great national significance not just to the racing community but to the wider public throughout the UK."

The inquiry hinges on records of irregular betting provided to police by the betting exchange website Betfair.

Of the 16 arrests, eight were made in South Yorkshire, three in North Yorkshire, three in Suffolk and two in Hertfordshire.

Four men were from Barnsley, two men and one woman from Sheffield, one man from Doncaster, two from Stevenage, Herts, one man from Minskip, North Yorkshire, two men from Leyburn, North Yorkshire and three men from Newmarket.

All 16 have been released on bail and will return to a London police station in November.

Kieren Fallon
Fallon has been champion Flat jockey six times
Fallon left Bury St Edmunds Police Station in Suffolk via a back door, without commenting to waiting reporters.

Fallon, Lynch and Williams are expected to be back in action on Thursday.

All three have booked rides with Fallon due at Salisbury, Lynch at Redcar and Williams at Carlisle.

The 39-year-old Fallon, who has ridden 161 winners this year, is well on the way to his seventh jockeys' championship.

The Irishman claimed a double Classic success this year winning the Oaks on Ouija Board and guiding North Light home in the Derby.

Four times in his career he has ridden 200 winners in a year - in 1997, 1998, 1999 and last year. Williams, the stable jockey for Burke, and Lynch have 43 winners apiece this year.

All three jockeys were due to ride at York on Wednesday afternoon, and officials made a number of late changes.

Middleham-based trainer Burke has just passed 50 winners for the season.

The whole thing is absolute nonsense
Elaine Burke
Wife of trainer Karl
His shocked wife Elaine, who said the couple were due to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on Wednesday, defended her husband.

"It's all been exaggerated and spun," she said.

Fallon was due to face a Jockey Club hearing later this year after the News of the World alleged in March that he and fellow jockey John Egan had brought racing into disrepute.

Both jockeys have strenuously denied the allegations.

Charges against the pair of accepting money or benefit in kind for tips were dropped by the Jockey Club.

In March, Fallon was banned for 21 days for dropping his hands and breaking racing rules over the defeat of his mount Ballinger Ridge at Lingfield.

Police said they were examining a large amount of information, including computer records and documentation.

Jockey Club director of public relations John Maxse said: "This is an investigation which was initially handled by the Jockey Club, then it was passed on to the City of London police earlier this year."

These are serious issues and are very damaging to the reputation of racing
John Blake
Jockeys' Association

The Jockey Club was initially alerted to concerns over a number of races by Betfair.

Punters using betting exchanges can back horses, but also 'lay' them to lose.

John Blake, the chief executive of the Jockeys' Association, said the arrests were very disappointing for racing.

"These are serious issues and are very damaging to the reputation of racing," he added.

Blake said his organisation would be offering full support to the arrested jockeys.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Catherine Marston
"Fallon is one of the biggest names in the business"



SEE ALSO
Q&A: Racing in the dock
02 Sep 04  |  Horse Racing


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