Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Ahern to appeal 10-year ban

Eddie Ahern will fight to return to racing

Group One-winning jockey Eddie Ahern has been disqualified for a total of 10 years following the conclusion of a British Horseracing Authority corruption hearing.

Ahern (35) was found guilty of conspiring to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice in relation to the laying of five horses between September 2010 and February 2011.

He was also found in breach of intentionally failing to ensure Judgethemoment was ridden on its merits at Lingfield in January 2011, and of passing information for reward.

Former West Brom footballer Neil Clement has been disqualified from the sport for a total of 15 years.

Clement faced charges relating to the five races Ahern rode in and also the laying of Hindu Kush, which he then owned, when that horse finished last of six at Kempton in February 2011.

The 34-year-old was found guilty of conspiring to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice, of placing a lay bet on Hindu Kush and of a failure to provide phone records.

Ahern's solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore said his client intends to appeal both the BHA disciplinary panel's findings and the severity of the suspension.

Stewart-Moore said in a statement: "Eddie Ahern is absolutely devastated by the BHA Panel's findings.

"He did not breach the rules of racing as found by the panel or at all and he will be appealing both the findings as well as the very harsh penalties imposed on him."

Ahern's counsel, Jonathan Harvie QC, accepted his client had rode "an ill-judged race", but denied he had engaged in a deliberate attempt to destroy Judgethemoment's chances by going off too fast.

Ahern's explanation for the ride was that he misjudged the pace and did not realise he was so far ahead.

A BHA disciplinary panel said it "could not accept that a jockey of Ahern's experience, especially on the all-weather at Lingfield, could have made an error of such an extent".

The BHA said Clement's wagers against Judgethemoment included a spread bet, in which he risked a maximum loss of £41,500 to win what was in the end £8,500.

Clement, who retired from football in January 2010 because of a knee injury, also admitted to having used inside information for betting against Stoneacre Gareth at Lingfield on March 9, 2011.

James Clutterbuck, son and assistant to Stoneacre Gareth's trainer, Ken Clutterbuck, was found guilty of passing on inside information at a separate hearing.

The BHA said Clutterbuck entered a guilty plea on a factual basis, which was accepted.

Clutterbuck's solicitor, Keith Lobo, of London-based St John Legal, said his client will contest the severity of the suspension imposed.

A statement issued by Mr Lobo said: "Mr Clutterbuck admitted to an innocent breach of the rules.

"There was no question of Mr Clutterbuck having received any financial reward or having acted dishonestly.

"The BHA decision was to disqualify my client for 30 months without any fine being imposed.

"Following advice and in light of previous authorities he has decided to appeal the decision."

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