No suspicious patterns to support Casela Park case.
THE BHA'S portrayal of the ride given to Casela Park at Newcastle last month as the seed of a "betting coup" was called into question yesterday, as bookmakers said that not only was there no suspicious activity but that they had not even been approached for information.
In an inquiry into the running and riding of Casela Park at the BHA on Wednesday, it was said by Graeme McPherson QC, for the BHA, that the motive for Jason Behan's ride - described as a "classic example of a stopping ride" by McPherson - was a race at Musselburgh two days later.
McPherson suggested Behan 'stopped' Casela Park as connections were planning an "old-fashioned betting coup" at Musselburgh.
The BHA's solicitor admitted that inquiries to Betfair, through the memorandum of understanding, had revealed "nothing out of the ordinary" had occurred in relation to the Newcastle contest, but he added that the lack of MoUs with other firms - "Bet365, Betdaq and the like", as McPherson put it - meant the BHA "had no idea of suspicious betting patterns with other bookmakers". Casela Park started at 17-2 at Newcastle, having opened at 10-1, finishing sixth of 12, but at Musselburgh started 3-1, drifting from an opening 11-4. He was fourth of eight under Paddy Mathers.
Paul Scotney, BHA director of security, said: "I am not fussed about memorandum of understandings as we don't need them. It is now a condition of a bookmaker's licence that they inform both the regulator and Gambling Commission if they notice anything suspicious.
"We had the MoU with Betfair in place before the new legislation but it's nice to have one in place as it formalises the relationship. We have no concerns about the betting patterns over this race. How the case was presented would have been up to the disciplinary team. We'd have had no discussion with them about that."
He added: "Firms would have been asked [about Casela Park], and of course it's always in their interest to tell us whenever they feel there's been a betting coup."
However, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Bet365 reported they had not been contacted about Casela Park's Newcastle race, nor had they noticed any suspicious betting patterns.
Kate Miller, of William Hill, said: "There were no approaches regarding Casela Park."
Commenting on a procedure also followed by other fixed odds firm and Irishbased betting exchange Betdaq, she added: "We do not voluntarily give information to the BHA that is data sensitive. We do give that sort of information to the Gambling Commission and the BHA can apply to receive it.
"From time to time an approach is made to our director of security Bill South, asking for suspicions/feelings we may have over a race. He gives that information to the BHA, but without names, etc - anything sensitive to data protection."
A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said: "We do maintain a close working relationship with the BHA, and other sports bodies. But we cannot discuss anything about individual cases."
Tim Charlton, chairman of the disciplinary panel, said he would try to send written reasons for their verdict to trainer and jockey by this evening. It is not known when the result will be made public.