Bookmaker's dealings with Evans leave a sour taste for punters
The relief expressed by David Evans following the verdict told its own tale at this intriguing and concerning hearing.
Evans had previously stated his regret to the BHA for what proved a sorry saga of events on January 9, 2015, readily admitting his intention to "nick a bit of extra value" in backing Black Dave before declaring stablemate Tango Sky a non-runner.
Whether a fine from the disciplinary panel totalling half the stake Evans placed on Black Dave was a fair penalty is highly questionable, although it was the practice of Ladbrokes in offering the trainer a better price on Black Dave than available to any other punter that was arguably more discomforting.
Ladbrokes Coral's Keith Page described that policy as a "regular occurrence" for "a certain profile of customer or long-term customer".
It didn't end there. Page claimed Ladbrokes subsequently shortened the price of Tango Sky to "bring it in line with industry prices".
This leaves a sour taste, and that image was strengthened when it was revealed that the price was shortened to 3-1, meaning there was a Rule 4 deduction of 25p from every £1 for successful bets, instead of 20p when previously priced at 7-2.
Page said: "There are two theoretical possibilities to the reason behind the price change for Tango Sky – either it was a very cynical price change in order to affect the subsequent Rule 4 or our traders were alerted to something not being right about the market, so they shortened the price of the market principals."
The public will make up their own mind on that one.
Trust in bookmakers and their relationship with the sport's licensed professionals, from punters sceptical of practices surrounding non-runners and Rule 4 deductions, will not have taken a step forward on Monday.
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