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Racing: SET AND MATCH; All eyes on suspect Legal Set as Burke sends him back to Lingfield.

Byline: NEWSBOY (Dave Mitchell)

THE finger of suspicion was pointed twice at Yorkshire-based trainer Karl Burke at Lingfield on Monday, so punters will be paying more than average interest to the tactics he employs when LEGAL SET (2.05) returns to his favourite track today.

Betting exchange Betfair's boss, Andrew Black, contacted the Jockey Club on Monday after one of Burke's horses, Royal Insult, drifted from 9-2 to 49-1 with his firm before the off.

The horse broke down during the contest and had to be destroyed, leaving Burke in a state of shock when told of the strange betting patterns preceding the race.

"He had a history of leg problems, but he just cracked a shoulder. I was under no pressure to run him and would never have done so if I thought anything like that would happen," he said.

While there will be no comebacks for Royal Insult, the other horse to put Burke in Monday's spotlight, Legal Set, returns in a handicap, having been narrowly beaten in a claimer that day.

Despite having an outstanding chance at the weights, like today, Legal Set was himself a huge market drifter, from 9-4 out to 5-1, before returning 4-1 at the off.

His supporters were shocked at the tactics claimer Darren Williams then adopted on the habitual front-runner, holding him up before applying minimum pressure in the final furlong to go down by a head and a neck.

John Maxse of the Jockey Club yesterday confirmed they were: "looking at queries concerning the race" but refused to say if the Club would hold a full inquiry.

Burke (right) defended the ride given to the horse by Williams, saying: "My instructions were to cover up the horse from a wide draw but he ran into traffic problems."

Williams is back in the plate again today and the pressure is on as the race will be run under the glare of Channel 4's cameras - should make interesting viewing!

CAPTION(S):

CLOSE WATCH: Legal Set is back at Lingfield today after Monday's controversial defeat
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 4, 2003
Words:342
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