Rodgers warned off for two years by the Jockey Club

FORMER Platinum Racing Club director Miles Rodgers was disqualified from British racing for two years by the Jockey Club yesterday.

In the first case of its kind, he was found guilty by the disciplinary panel of laying his own horse to lose with a betting organisation.

The hearing followed a Jockey Club investigation into the runs of Uhoomagoo at Redcar on October 28 and Million Percent at Wolverhampton on November 14. Both horses ran under the ownership of Platinum Racing Club Ltd.

Both horses were well beaten, the 9-1 shot Uhoomagoo finishing 12th of 16 in the Marske Handicap and 6-1 Million Percent running eighth of nine in the Bet Direct No Q Handicap.

The investigation was the first under Rule 247, which came into force on September 1 and prohibits owners, trainers and stable staff from laying their own horses to lose.

The panel considered evidence from Rodgers, who was legally represented, and David O’Reilly, legal counsel for betting exchange company Betfair.

They also considered other evidence, including recordings of telephone conversations between Betfair and Rodgers.

The panel found Rodgers to be in breach of Rule 247 (iii) in that, as an owner, he either had laid Uhoomagoo and Million Percent to lose their respective races or had instructed others to do so on his behalf.

Rodgers was declared a disqualified person from April 2 2004 until April 1 2006.

As Rodgers was found to be in breach of Rule 247, the Jockey Club did not consider the lesser charge that he deliberately misled Philip Walker, an investigating officer for the Jockey Club’s security department, by providing false information to him during an interview on December 10.

The investigation was conducted with the assistance of Betfair through their Memorandum of Understanding with the Jockey Club, which has been in place since last June. After the hearing Jockey Club public relations director John Maxse said: “This was an important case for the Jockey Club and sets a benchmark for the future.

“It demonstrates that our security department is equipped to investigate such breaches of the rules and produce evidence that merits a severe penalty.

“The panel were satisfied that there was evidence that Mr Rodgers had either placed the bets himself or instructed someone to do so on his behalf.

“It is not acceptable for any owner to lay their own horse to lose and we will continue to disqualify from the sport anyone found guilty of doing so.”

He added: “I cannot disclose the particular sums won by Mr Rodgers when he broke the rules and laid horses in his ownership, but the panel took account of the amounts when considering the penalty and it is fair to say they were quite significant.

“The races in question were reviewed by our monitoring system and it was not considered that there was a case to answer from any of the jockeys or trainers concerned.

“The breach related to Mr Rodgers laying the horses rather than the horses not being run on their merits.”

Rodgers, 35, said the outcome was a “travesty” and that he would be considering an appeal. He said: “I’ve not done anything wrong with my horses. It was a preconceived result today. It’s been a witch hunt and there had to be a scapegoat.

“A lot of people think the only way you can be successful in racing is through cheating and skulduggery. I’ve done neither of those. We’ve rejected every point that the Jockey Club put forward. We’ve proved that I didn’t lay my own horses, but still I’ve been found guilty.”

He said he had resigned as a director of Platinum Racing Club three weeks ago and would not be owning any more horses after his disqualification ends. “But he added he would continue to operate his “network of tipping organisations”.

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