Race-fixing inquiry to hear evidence from Kenyon team

Kenyon poses as wealthy gambler

BBC journalist Paul Kenyon and the makers of a Kenyon Confronts investigation into race fixing have agreed to give evidence to a Jockey Club inquiry.

The BBC is prepared to hand over the tapes and written notes to Jockey Club security chief Jeremy Phipps after receiving "written and verbal assurances" that the inquiry will be balanced and impartial.

With plans in hand for a follow-up to the 11 June programme They Fix Races, Don’t They?, the inquiry will examine its allegations about three trainers featured – Ferdy Murphy, Jamie Osborne and David Wintle. All three were secretly filmed by Kenyon who posed as a wealthy antiques dealer with a weakness for gambling.

Tapes containing several hours of unused footage and notes of interviews that took place, while the programme was being researched, will also be handed over.

Kenyon, programme producer Gary Horne and assistant producer Matthew Mervyn-Jones will meet members of the inquiry team at Television Centre on 24 July.

"After receiving these assurances that the inquiry would not be a whitewash, we are happy to make ourselves and our research available," said executive producer Paul Woolwich. "They spent so much time rubbishing us before the programme even went out, but there seems to have been a change of heart."

Woolwich cited as reasons for the Jockey Club decision to take the claims seriously separate investigation of the handicap system by the British Racing Board and Irish sports minister John O’Donoghue’s pledge to clamp down on cheating after seeing the programme.

The trainers featured have threatened legal action against the programme, claiming that clips of their conversations with Kenyon were taken out of context.

But Woolwich said that the trawl of the footage has unearthed further "damning" evidence that would be used in a programme for the next series. More people had come forward with information after watching last month’s investigation, he added.

"We have had to be very careful because we have been threatened with legal action and I’ll be damned if we play our hand by giving them material for them to use to damn us," said Woolwich. "But we have spent a lot of time putting our evidence together and were very careful to give the two minutes before and after the things we used. They show that in no way were they taken out of context or indeed isolated comments."

Woolwich added that there were also "pages of notes" taken by journalists that gave "a much bigger picture" of the seedier side of horse racing.

After hearing evidence from the Kenyon Confronts team, the inquiry will make a recommendation to the Jockey Club about whether the matter should go to a disciplinary committee.

By Julie Tomlin

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