Carter guilty of riding 'blatant' non-trier as Wainwright cleared
Former jockey Adam Carter has been found guilty of a stopping ride that a disciplinary panel described as "about as blatant an example of a non-trier as one could get".
Malton trainer John Wainwright and professional gambler John Wright were cleared of conspiring to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice.
They were found not guilty by a disciplinary panel after an inquiry into the running and riding of Blazeofenchantment, who finished seventh of nine in a race at Southwell in June 2014.
But Carter was found guilty of riding the gelding other than on its merits and of passing information to Paul Bradley and through him to Peter Bennett, who were both found by the panel to have breached the rules regarding use of inside information.
Blazeofenchantment was never a factor in the race in question, slow into his stride and tenderly ridden by Carter.
Carter was accused at the hearing of having given him "the clearest of stopping rides" and the panel, whose verdict was announced on Thursday, agreed.
Moreover, they called Carter a "unreliable witness, prone to invent things when pressed on all sorts of matters" and said they had approached his evidence with "great caution, given its twists and turns over the years".
At the original stewards' inquiry at Southwell and in his first interview with BHA investigators in September 2014, Carter made no allegations against Wainwright or Wright.
But before a second interview nine months after the race he produced a statement claiming he had been told to stop the horse, alleging that, when he travelled down in the horsebox to Southwell with Wainwright, Wright phoned and said "we might not be trying today".
He further alleged that Wainwright had told him in the parade ring to "miss the break and not be in the first four".
However, when Carter gave evidence at last month's inquiry he withdrew both allegations, claiming he had made them only because he had been "brainwashed" and led to believe they might help him get more lenient treatment, adding that "brainfade" caused him to ride Blazeofenchantment as he did.
Panel doubted Carter acted alone
The panel said of Carter: "His unreliability is apparent in every version of events he has given."
The panel doubted Carter acted alone and felt that some person or persons persuaded him to ride as he did. They argued: "While Mr Wainwright and Mr Wright can both be seen as possible candidates for this role, there were others."
They added: "The mere possibility that Mr Wainwright or Mr Wright were involved is not sufficient to prove the case against them. The evidence that Mr Carter gave at one stage of the investigation to implicate them was unconvincing.
"The BHA was unable to demonstrate that either Mr Wainwright or Mr Wright stood to profit from the lay betting. There was no basis for thinking either of them did so by some undiscovered route.
"The panel came ultimately to the conclusion that the charges against Mr Wainwright and Mr Wright were not proved to the standard required. Mr Carter, too, must be acquitted of involvement in a conspiracy or corrupt practice with them."
However, the panel found that Bradley, a stable employee, and Bennett, who is not registered or licensed, used the information that Carter was going to stop Blazeofenchantment for betting purposes.
The judgement concluded: "It was obvious from the communications firstly between Mr Carter and Mr Bradley and secondly between Mr Bradley and Mr Bennett, together with the circumstances of Mr Bennett’s lay betting, that they were engaged in a corrupt or fraudulent practice."
Penalties for Carter, Bradley and Bennett will follow at a future hearing or following written submissions, the panel said.
Reacting to the verdicts, BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: "The outcome of this hearing, first and foremost, reflects the fact that the disciplinary panel found that corrupt practices had taken place involving three individuals with either a direct or indirect involvement in the sport. These practices had been identified by the BHA and as a result of this the panel is taking action against those individuals.
"The panel also indicates that while further individuals involved in the hearing were not found in breach, there was clearly a ‘powerful contrary argument’ and therefore clearly a case to answer.
"This is why it is always correct for such matters to be placed before an independent disciplinary panel to determine the outcome of disciplinary charges.
"As a recommendation from the BHA’s recent integrity review we will be shortly implementing a fast-track investigation protocol that will allow us to deal with minor rule breaches more swiftly and appropriately.
"This will free up resource for more complex corruption inquiries to ensure they are completed more quickly."