Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Trainer guilty in Sabre Light case

Ten people, including trainer Jeff Pearce, former trainer Geoff Huffer and jockey Jerry O'Dwyer, have been warned off by the British Horseracing Authority at the conclusion of the Sabre Light affair.

The investigation concerned the horse's fifth-placed finish in the Holly And The Ivy Claiming Stakes at Lingfield on December 17, 2008.

Pearce and Huffer were found guilty of conspiring to ensure Sabre Light did not run on his merits and were disqualified for three and four years respectively.

O'Dwyer was found guilty of deliberately failing to ride the six-year-old gelding on his merits and was disqualified for 18 months.

Unlicensed individuals Gary Banham, Sharon Williams, Peter Root, Mark Benton, Patrick Wrixon, Jeffrey Conrad and Steven Radford were all excluded indefinitely.

The BHA had been alerted over the betting patterns and Pearce has been charged for breaching a number of the rules of racing, including obscuring the true ownership of Sabre Light, who officially belonged to Fran O'Brien but was alleged to have been Huffer's.

Huffer, who won the 2000 Guineas in 2007 with Cockney Rebel, was said to have lied to investigators and was part of a “a planned subterfuge” over Sabre Light's running at Lingfield, where he finished fifth of 13 runners.

The others to be punished were found to have backed Sabre Light to lose on betting exchanges after receiving information, placing the bets for others, or for allowing others access to their accounts.

Banham, who was found to have used threatening behaviour towards BHA investigators, did not attend the inquiry.

O'Dwyer will be banned until July 12, 2012, while Pearce and Huffer cannot be involved in racing until January 12 of 2014 and 2015 respectively. O'Brien was fined £5,000.

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