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New Scandals Hit British Horse Racing

March 9, 2004

LONDON (AP) _ British horse racing was under scrutiny on two new fronts Tuesday, with a steeplechase rider suspended and four people charged in a betting scam.

The developments come with Kieren Fallon, a six-time champion jockey, already under investigation for possible race-fixing.

Jockey Sean Fox was suspended for 21 days for jumping off his mount during a steeplechase at Fontwell Park on Monday, landing on his feet. His mount, Ice Saint, was challenging for the lead.

After a stewards’ inquiry, Fox was suspended for ``failing to take all reasonable measures to obtain the best possible placing.″ Fox said he lost his balance because the horse was having trouble with the fences.

``I have been tarred with the same brush as Kieren Fallon,″ he said. ``If they think I am mad enough to jump off at about 30 mph, they must be barmy (crazy).″

On Monday, four people were charged by the Jockey Club with conspiring ``for the commission of a corrupt or fraudulent practice.″

The four _ trainer Alan Berry, blacksmith Steve O’Sullivan, jockey Paul Bradley and amateur rider Dale Jewett _ are charged with conspiring to run a lame horse.

Berry’s filly, Hillside Girl, was pulled up lame about halfway through the Fathers’ Day Handicap at Carlisle in June. Berry denied wrongdoing, contending the horse was kicked by a horse in the adjacent stall shortly before the start.

Fallon apparently eased up on his horse in the final furlong and lost by a head at Lingfield on March 2. Just before the race, security officials reported ``suspicious betting patterns.″ The Jockey Club is investigating, and the Irish rider has denied any impropriety.

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