RACING: TV team slam 'lenient' fines.Byline: WILLIAM HAYLER
THE producer behind the BBC's Kenyon Confronts series, has blasted racing's regulators for giving trainer David Wintle "a rather pathetic slap on the wrist".
Wintle returned home tight-lipped after being fined a total of pounds 7,200 for offences including bringing racing into disrepute dis·re·pute
Damage to or loss of reputation.
a loss or lack of good reputation
Noun 1. .
The Cotswolds trainer was called to Portman Square to answer allegations that he had brought racing into disrepute when appearing on the BBC's Kenyon Confronts programme last June.
Similar cases involving Wintle's colleagues Jamie Osborne and Ferdy Murphy were heard late last year, both receiving fines of pounds 4,000 having offered full apologies for the involvement in the programme.
TV producer Paul Woolwich launched an attack on the level of punishment handed out to Wintle for comments made on hidden-camera footage shown in the programme and for apparently not running a horse on its merits.
"The Club had a golden opportunity to show the racing public that it was going to have no truck with this sort of cheating but in reality it has let all these trainers off with a rather pathetic slap on the wrist," he said.
"One wonders whose interests they are protecting and how many more Dave Wintles are practising their craft on British racecourses.
"We fear that this rather lenient le·ni·ent
Inclined not to be harsh or strict; merciful, generous, or indulgent: lenient parents; lenient rules. punishment will do little to reassure re·as·sure
tr.v. re·as·sured, re·as·sur·ing, re·as·sures
1. To restore confidence to.
2. To assure again.
3. To reinsure. the public about the Club's intentions to clean up the sport and may simply offer succour to others prepared to fix races."
In response, John Maxse, the Jockey Club's public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most director, explained that there were legal issues that dictated a stronger punishment might not have been appropriate.
"If Mr Woolwich is talking about taking licences away then there needs to be concrete evidence of a serious breach of the rules before you can take away somebody's livelihood," Maxse said.
"Simply talking of ways in which the rules can be beaten is not enough to justify that.
"A fine of pounds 7,200 is a considerable amount.
"The high-profile fines totalling pounds 4,200 handed out recently to Jonjo O'Neill Jonjo O'Neill (born 19 April 1953) is an Irish National Hunt racehorse trainer and former jockey. He is a native of Castletownroche, County Cork in Ireland. Based at the Jackdaws Castle training establishment in England, O'Neill is the private trainer to J. P. for two non-triers clearly demonstrate that if horses are not run on their merits, connections will be penalised.
"The Jockey Club knows better than anyone how important it is that the public has confidence in racing."