BBC crew attacked as race fixers are 'caught on film'

Kenyon posed as a wealthy antiques dealer with a passion for gambling

Tensions between the BBC and the world of horse racing reached boiling point during an investigation into race fixing that ended with an attack on journalist Paul Kenyon.

Kenyon, who posed as a wealthy antiques dealer with a weakness for gambling, bought a horse called Seattle Alley for £4,000 in February and sent it to be trained. He succeeded in getting footage that, he says, shows race fixing being carried out.

The Kenyon Confronts investigation, the first of a new four-part BBC1 series starting on 11 June, shows the former Panorama journalist confronting a trainer with evidence of alleged race fixing at Stratford. A cameraman is then punched and Kenyon falls to the ground as his fingers are bent back. Both men are then escorted from the racecourse.

"It was obviously the end of a beautiful relationship once they realised I was in fact a journalist," said Kenyon. He is now considering legal action over a second alleged attack after a trainer blew his cover.

Before suspicions were aroused that he and his colleagues were journalists, Kenyon succeeded in secretly filming some big-name trainers offering to cheat during races.

"It sounds a clichŽ but I think the programme will send shockwaves through the racing industry," said Kenyon.

"Ever since I’ve been in journalism, people have wanted to do horse racing and race fixing, but no one has. We are sure that there has never been a film of races being fixed. It’s something that is known about, but the racing community is very insular and has kept it to itself."

Concern over the negative impact on the industry of a Panorama investigation and an exposŽ by Kenyon similar to his programme about greyhound racing, has prompted the Jockey Club to alert trainers about BBC journalists posing as racehorse owners.

"Last year a programme on greyhound racing sought to expose race fixing and drug use within the sport; it is not inconceivable that something similar is being attempted here. If that is the case all conversations with the men in question could be recorded so be careful," a statement said.

Kenyon said the BBC’s willingness to pay for a racehorse was key to the success of the investigation, but added that the decision to pose as an antiques dealer was "the stupidest cover we’ve ever done".

"It became a distraction because I was being introduced to people as an antiques dealer and they kept asking me for advice," said Kenyon.

The Jockey Club is already locked in a battle with the BBC over a Panorama investigation into horse racing that is due to be broadcast in the summer. The Jockey Club’s former security chief, Roger Buffham, has gone to the High Court in a bid to overturn an injunction against him taking part in the programme.

The hearing was adjourned until today (Friday).

Bookmaker Victor Chandler has also threatened legal action against the BBC if it fails to return documents seized by police during a 1998 race fixing investigation.

Representatives from the Jockey Club are due to meet Panorama chiefs this week to discuss its investigation and the methods used.

By Julie Tomlin

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