Blockley and McKeown face BHA charges

Trainer Paul Blockley and jockey Dean McKeown are set to face corruption charges following a lengthy investigation by the British Horseracing Authority.

The pair, along with seven other individuals, face a variety of charges relating to 11 races which took place between March 2004 and December 2005.

Blockley and McKeown are charged with breaching rule 201, concerning communicating directly or indirectly to one or more Betfair account holders information relating to the prospects of their horse in the race, including information that was not in the public domain.

They also face charges of breaching rule 243, which governs communicating information for material reward, gift, favour or benefit in kind.

McKeown, one of the stalwarts of the northern jockeys’ room, is accused of breaking rule 157 and Blockley of breaching rule 155 – the ’non-trier’ rules - in four specific races.

In an unrelated case, Neil Leach, a travelling head lad for Nicky Richards, faces charges in connection with allegedly laying horses to lose in 10 races between November 2005 and July 2006.

Leach and unlicensed individual Neil Allen face charges under rule 220, with the former also facing an additional charge under rule 243.

A date for both disciplinary hearings will be set in due course.

Blockley is represented by Withy King’s Richard Brooks and he insists the trainer has not broken any rules.

Brooks said in a statement: “Paul is stunned and angry. His only interview was at the beginning of 2006. He has nothing to hide and has co-operated fully with the investigation.

“The BHA suggests that there may be a conspiracy involving trainer and jockey to benefit owners who laid horses in the yard. That is wrong.

“The charges result from what we are told are questionable betting patterns. The very purpose of an inquiry before the disciplinary panel is to investigate all of the circumstances. In a sense Paul welcomes the inquiry and trusts that he will be publicly exonerated.

“This seems to be a case involving owners laying their horses. If they were doing that it had nothing to do with Paul, who knew nothing about it. The charges are denied.

“I have spoken to Dean and his position is exactly the same.

“It is up to four years since these races took place. The BHA has failed to explain why it has taken over two years to bring charges since these men were interviewed. This is bad justice.”

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