Race-fixing inquiry wants to hear from BBC's Kenyon

Kenyon undercover as owner

BBC journalist Paul Kenyon has been asked to give evidence to a Jockey Club inquiry following allegations of race fixing in a recent undercover investigation.

Three weeks after the broadcast of the Kenyon Confronts programme which looked at alleged race fixing and "non-trying", the Jockey Club’s new head of security, Major General Jeremy Phipps, has written asking to speak to nine people involved in the investigation, including Kenyon and the programme’s producer, Gary Hall.

The makers of the BBC1 programme – called They Fix Races, Don’t They? – will decide this week whether they will co-operate with the Jockey Club’s request that they attend the inquiry and hand over tapes of material not used in the programme.

The Jockey Club announced the inquiry after Kenyon posed as an antiques dealer with an interest in betting in order to secretly film trainers – Jamie Osborne, Ferdy Murphy and David Wintle.

If Kenyon agrees to attend the inquiry, he would also be asked about an alleged attack at the Stratford racecourse after his cover was blown.

Executive producer Paul Woolwich initially refused a request to hand over tapes of material not used in the 30-minute programme following Jockey Club spokesman John Maxse’s criticism both before and after it was broadcast in June.

"We have had a letter from the Jockey Club saying it will be carrying out a full and balanced inquiry," said Woolwich. "We are now reconsidering whether we will co-operate. Under normal circumstances we would be happy to make our evidence available and we have done it following other investigations for Kenyon Confronts, but we need to be confident that the body carrying out the inquiry will be impartial and unbiased." The three trainers shown in the film had threatened legal action against the BBC before the programme was broadcast.

Woolwich said there was "lots of extra evidence that would be equally damning and very useful" to the inquiry, but is seeking legal advice before handing it over.

"The Jockey Club said it didn’t believe there was a breach of its rules and publicly rubbished the programme before it was even broadcast," said Woolwich.

"If its line of inquiry is going to be that the rules haven’t been breached, then it would be pointless."

lThe BBC has confirmed that it has been "successful" in opposing legal action brought by bookmaker Victor Chandler over documents seized by police during a 1998 race-fixing investigation that had been obtained by the Panorama programme. Details of the High Court hearing cannot be disclosed until 14 July.

 

By Julie Tomlin

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