Trainers told they could lose licence over bookie links after Evans case
A BHA disciplinary panel has warned that trainers who commit rule breaches like those that led to a fine of more than £3,000 for David Evans this month may in future lose their licence as a result.
Evans admitted to delaying the announcement of Tango Sky as a non-runner at Wolverhampton in January 2015 and was also charged with conduct prejudicial to the good reputation of horseracing after he confessed he held back in order to "nick a bit of extra value" for him and owners in his yard about Black Dave, his other runner in the race.
The findings of the case, which were published on Wednesday and included a transcript of Evans' call to the Ladbrokes trading desk in order to place a £6,000 bet on Black Dave, elaborated on the decision to fine Evans rather than ban him, owing to his openness and assistance during the inquiry, which had also been cited as a contributing factor to his fine being reduced from £4,000.
However, the report concluded: "By way of postscript, it should be said that other trainers and stable staff should not assume that a financial penalty will always be appropriate in the case of relationships with bookmakers that go beyond simply seeking and making bets. If they are supplying information that they should not be (and having access to enhanced prices may be an indication of this), then they risk the loss of their licences."
Evans had been given 4-1 about Black Dave when Ladbrokes were offering the general public 7-2 at the time and it was revealed during the inquiry that this was because the Monmouthshire trainer was viewed as a "high-value customer" by Ladbrokes.
The panel's findings went on to consider the meaning of this information, noting that Ladbrokes shortened Tango Sky's price and duly increased the rule 4 deduction when he was eventually pulled out around an hour later, but concluded in this instance: "The only actual losers from this, however, will be those punters who backed the eventual winner between the time of Mr Evans's phone call to Ladbrokes and the re-formation of the market."
They also dismissed the advantage gained by Evans and his associates as "negligible", owing to the increased Rule 4 deduction imposed on Tango Sky.
The race, for which Black Dave was ultimately sent off 6-4 favourite, was won by the Kristin Stubbs-trained Bogsnog at 10-1, who had been around 20-1 in the morning.
Joe Rendall, media and communications executive at the BHA, said: “As a progressive regulator we always consider opportunities to improve how we protect the integrity of the sport, including how our rules and processes can be improved.
"We are aware of the range of views held by the betting public as a result of recent events and it is important that they have full confidence in betting markets.
“We are embarking on a significant programme of integrity education which will be rolled out to the sport’s participants in the coming months, which was recommended as part of the 2016 integrity review. This will include educating our stakeholders on a range of integrity issues so they understand the standards expected of them.”
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