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RACING : Carter 'stunned' by five-year ban.

Byline: By Robert Pratt

Former jockey Gary Carter says he is "stunned" by the Jockey Club's decision to disqualify him for five years and fine him pounds 2,000 after he was found to have committed breaches of the Rules of Racing.

The punishments were imposed after a disciplinary committee hearing on September 28.

Carter, who lives in Spain, announced his retirement from the saddle last month and claimed he could not afford to defend himself.

He was found guilty of providing information for reward, aiding a breach of the rules, associating with an excluded person and misleading Jockey Club officials.

Carter, however, believes the punishment was "very harsh". In a statement released through the Jockeys' Association of Great Britain, he said: "I am very disappointed to hear the outcome of this case.

"Since the original charges were published in July 2004, I have in effect been serving a ban and then again, when those charges were dropped and modified in April this year, the renewed press coverage helped to finally kill off the last few years of my career."

At last week's inquiry, the disciplinary panel met to consider whether or not Carter, Christopher Coleman - already an excluded person - Dean Coleman, Neil Yorke, Stephen Hobbs, Linda Hobbs and James Nash had committed breaches of the Rules of Racing.

At the inquiry, the panel looked into the conduct of Carter and the others in connection with the running of eight races during August and September 2003.

The betting patterns for these races aroused suspicion at betting exchange Betfair and the Jockey Club's security department then began a detailed and intensive investigation.

It became clear to the panel that Carter had extensive contacts with Coleman before and after the eight races in question and there was ample evidence that Coleman and Carter were phoning each other.

The panel also ruled Carter's general denial of contacts with Coleman in August and September 2003 "is untrue" and said the ex-jockey's riding on Lilli Marlane at Ascot was, to put it at its lowest, "not intended to achieve the best possible placing".

The panel concluded Carter was passing information to Coleman about how his rides would perform.

This motivated the latter and his allies to carry out their betting operations.

The panel viewed videos of each of the races and concluded: "Carter did not ride them to achieve the best possible result".

Andrew Chalk of Withy King solicitors, who initially advised Carter, said: "I am confident there would have been a different outcome had Gary been legally represented."

Channel 4 betting pundit John McCririck said: "Every punter can now take confidence that at last the authorities are fiercely tackling corruption. The Jockey Club's crackdown on riders using mobiles on racecourses without supervision has been proved to be justified.'

One of two people inter-viewed on Monday in connection with the long-running investigation by the City of London Police into allegations of race-fixing is still in custody

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 6, 2005
Words:495
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