Racing world in a panic over BBC investigations

BBC investigations into alleged race fixing and doping have caused a storm in the world of horse racing, leading the Jockey Club to sound the alarm about journalists posing as racehorse owners.

Investigations by Panorama and the BBC1 undercover programme Kenyon Confronts, have led the Jockey Club to warn trainers that "two men purporting to be owners are in fact undercover reporters and may be seeking to produce a story which could damage the reputation of racing".

Published in the National Trainers’ Federation newsletter, the statement went on to highlight the damage caused to greyhound racing when it was the subject of BBC journalist Paul Kenyon’s undercover tactics.

"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 please be careful."

The warning follows a series of complaints about tactics used by the Panorama team for a programme that is due to go on air in the summer.

One camera crew was escorted off Stratford racecourse, leading the Racecourse Association to send out a reminder that film crews need Jockey Club permission to enter racetracks.

Trainer Gay Kelleway called police to her Newmarket stable claiming that she had cameras pushed into her face during an interview.

Fellow trainers Alan Jones and David Wintle, along with champion jockey Kieren Fallon – who claims he was verbally abused by a cameraman – have also registered complaints of harassment to the Jockey Club.

But a spokesman for the BBC said the allegations were "simply not true". He added that the forthcoming programmes would "make interesting viewing for the racing world and the general public".

A BBC insider said the way the horse racing world was closing ranks was "incredible".

The Jockey Club has also begun legal action against its former head of security, Roger Buffham, over an breach of confidence for allegedly speaking to BBC journalists.

 

By Julie Tomlin

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