Group 1-winning jockey Eddie Ahern has been banned from racing for a total of ten years having been found guilty by the BHA of wilfully preventing a horse from running to its merits and for gaining financial reward for information given on four other mounts.
Ahern’s most serious offence was deemed to be his riding of Jane Chapple-Hyam’s former Royal Ascot winner Judgethemoment at Lingfield on January 21, 2011. “Led and soon spread-eagled field” were the in-running comments attributed to the stayer in the two-mile handicap, pointing to the fierce early pace set by Ahern, which the trainer says was contrary to her instructions.
Ahern’s friend, the former footballer Neil Clement, has also been banned from racing, his sentence being 15 years and a £3,000 fine. Clement placed a lay bet of £41,000 against Judgethemoment winning or finishing placed in the seven-runner contest, and was found to have placed other lay bets on horses ridden by the jockey.
The BHA’s disciplinary panel found Ahern in breach of Rule (B)59.2 for his stopping ride on Judgethemoment, for which he received an eight-year ban, while further rule breaches resulted in a two-year disqualification for the passing of inside information to Clement for reward on four other occasions between September 2010 and February 2011.
The BHA’s Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk Adam Brickell, said after Wednesday’s hearing: “The findings have confirmed that another network of corruption has been successfully prosecuted by the BHA. The clear message from this, and other cases heard in the last 18 months, should be that the BHA is better equipped than ever at pinpointing and prosecuting malpractice. The penalties imposed as a result of these cases being heard should serve as a deterrent to others.
“The links we have developed with betting organisations and the advances made in our sharing of data and intelligence mean that we are increasingly effective at gathering evidence that leads to prosecutions. This investigation was another landmark in terms of our intelligence and evidence gathering capabilities as it was the first occasion on which we have received assistance from a spread betting company to bring a successful prosecution.
“We have now sought and received significant cooperation on a voluntary basis from more than one such firm and we hope that this is a resource we will continue to be able to turn to in future investigations. Meanwhile we continue to await Government’s improvements to the overall legislative framework that will ensure all operators are mandated to share such information with us, and other sporting bodies.”
In addition to the lengthy bans for Ahern and Clement, James Clutterbuck, the son and assistant trainer of Ken Clutterbuck, received a 30-month ban from racing for passing inside information to Clement regarding Stoneacre Gareth’s run at Lingfield on March 9, 2011, implying to the gambler that the gelding would not be able to run to form.