Harley breaks bone in neck as attempted coup goes west

Pre-race talk at Lingfield yesterday had all concerned the development of another eyecatching all-weather gamble but it was rendered insignificant after the shocking fall suffered by Martin Harley.

Harley breaks bone in neck as attempted coup goes west

Harley will miss Dubai World Cup night and the first half of the Flat turf season after breaking a bone in his neck and a number of ribs in a crashing fall from the gambled-on Red Art in the 7f handicap.

The Tony Newcombe-trained five-year-old died after breaking a shoulder and catapulted Harley to the ground when well held inside the final furlong of the contest.

It is a double blow for Harley as he had only recently started his new job as stable jockey to Marco Botti’s powerful Newmarket yard and was expected to partner Mount Athos for his new boss in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan on Saturday week.

The jockey was initially concussed by the fall but was conscious when loaded into the ambulance before being taken off to hospital at nearby Redhill where he had a full body scan which revealed a fracture to his neck.

The BHA had earlier taken the unusual steps of contacting both bookmakers and the Gambling Commission regarding an audacious potential all-weather coup, in a bid to protect integrity and the sport’s reputation.

Nine horses, four from Tony Newcombe’s yard and five trained by Ann Stokell were subject to significant market moves at Lingfield and Kempton, but bookmakers were able counteract the gambles by temporarily offering SP only on seven races which contained the plunge horses.

Paddy Power halted betting on four races at Lingfield, the 2.00, 2.30, 3.30 and 4.40 plus Kempton’s 6.10, 6.40 and 9.10 — and were joined by Boylesports and William Hill. Shortly after bet365, Coral and Stan James also pulled the plug on betting.

The BHA’s media manager Robin Mounsey said the governing body’s priority was to protect the integrity and reputation of racing and the interests of punters. “The BHA alerted the Gambling Commission yesterday to the possibility of a complex betting-related issue involving races at Lingfield and Kempton,” he said.

“The BHA’s internal monitoring and intelligence networks gathered the information and acted positively once verified and these actions alerted the betting industry in order that bookmakers were able to act in a manner they felt appropriate. The action taken reflects our immediate priority in these situations which is to protect both the integrity and reputation of the sport and the interests of the betting public.

“We will continue to monitor the situation, both in terms of the betting markets but also in relation to the actions of those who may be involved in the matter. Any actions which we deem as either contrary to the rules or as a manipulation of our processes and systems will be acted upon, and subsequently we will ensure that the full circumstances surrounding the case will be examined.”

Such preventative measures turned out to be largely unnecessary, as the gambles went awry. Stephen Arnold, who owns four of the Stokell-trained horses, had tweeted: “The horses I have backed in multiples are Daniel Thomas, Profile Star, Decent Fella, We Have A Dream, Brown Pete. Good luck.”

However while Profile Star, who Arnold does not own, did win at 3-1 having been 8-1 earlier in the day, Daniel Thomas and Decent Fella failed to fire at Lingfield. We Have A Dream could not get involved at Kempton, and Brown Pete — due to be partnered by Harley — was made a non-runner with no suitable jockey available given as the reason.

Of the Tony Newcombe-trained horses, Red Art suffered a fatal fall at Lingfield, with Dorback a non-runner. Mambo Spirit was never competitive at Kempton, with Chapellerie withdrawn just before the off.

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